The Corner Stoe & The School.

I had to ask the question: “what is the healthiest, most fulfilling meal you can find at a corner stoe?”

The conversation that ensued: dietary habits and how they influence behavior… might be the focal point in understanding how to teach these young men and women in the classroom.

I was at the “Elev8 Family Engagement” event, a round table discussion where matters of mental and physical health were the topics on the table.  The meeting was held in a classroom at Roots Middle school, one of five schools on Havenscourt’s campus on 66th and E. 14th in East Oakland.

The Lockers in Roots Middle School are all sprayed with graffiti.

My question came at the tail end of a presentation by Michael E. Shaw, Director of the Urban Male Health Initiative.  And just prior to a presentation by Christopher P. Chatmon, Executive Director of the African-American Male Initiative at Oakland Unified School District.

There were about 20 people in the room that afternoon; the attendees: single mothers, their children, two presenters, the event host, and myself.

My question, which was initially posed to Mr. Michael Shaw, the expert on urban health, was quickly rerouted to address the entire room. Host, Gaylon Logan took my question, and asked the youth in the room, what they thought was the healthiest, most fulfilling item in a corner stoe. “Water”, one juvenile remarked.

After a laugh, I told the room that I eat trail mix, peanuts, and orange juice from the corner stoe.

The room laughed again.

Then, loud enough for the room to hear, but still under his breath,  one of the youth remarked “we don’t have trail mix where im from”.

Another laugh erupted.

I changed my question: “If you only had $3.00 to spend, and you had to buy something fulfilling from the corner stoe, what would it be?”

“chocolate. chocolate. and chocolate”, said one girl, halfway joking, halfway serious.

“Chips, soda, and candy.”, said a younger boy… others in the room agreed.

And then the conversation halted. No laughing this time, the event’s host took the reigns of the convo, and simply asked the mothers: “do you go to these corner stoe’s ? did you know that this is what they are spending their money on?”

“no’s” and head shakes confirming the “no’s” ran rampant through the room.

Mr. Logan, made light of this finding and suggested that the parents investigate the corner stoe in their community and the type of food it serves…

However, my question has yet to be answered: what is healthiest thing you can find at a corner stoe? is there anything that will fill you up for $3.00 ?

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