The idea of COPE (Childhood Obesity Prevention and Education) came from my desire to help overweight children like I was. My parents tried desperately to help me lose weight through proper nutrition, diet programs, exercise classes, etc. but were unsuccessful. From the age of 10 I was on formal diet programs under medical care. No matter what the method, weight loss didn’t occur. As I continued to gain weight I noticed my self esteem was suffering.
It wasn’t until I was 47 that I pulled all the components together to lose over 100 pounds and keep it off since 2006. As I began facilitating weight loss support groups after my weight loss I noticed that everyone struggling with their weight had issues with emotional or comfort eating. That awareness caused me to realize if we could help children develop good coping skills and a healthy relationship with food from a young age, then we may not have to wait until we are adults to try to correct poor behaviors and relearn how to express our emotions. From there COPE was formed so we could help children learn healthy coping skills and how to express themselves by developing a good self image while learning the benefits of making wise choices that affect our weight and health.
COPE stands by a threefold approach to combating childhood obesity with behavioral health at the core of our efforts. Nutrition can be taught and exercise can be modeled, but if we don’t have the behavioral skills to choose wisely, to value ourselves and our health, and to put forth the effort to fulfill our potential in life, then none of that will help. It is extremely important that our children realize their value. Their God given gifts and talents are to be nurtured and developed so they can become the unique person they were created to be rather than believing they should be a copy of who they see in the media. Clothing size, weight, height, hair, skin, and facial features don’t make us who we are, but our children today think that is what is important. Those unrealistic expectations can cause disordered eating and unhealthy coping skills. COPE is here to do what we can to change that for the future generations.
Along with the education we have for students, COPE also offers obesity education and prevention programs to parents and care givers so that the entire family can live healthily together. COPE offers all of this free of charge. Funds are solicited to pay for the cost of implementation and materials so all parents and children can participate and/or benefit.
COPE offers the only certified L.E.A.N. Health Coach (Dr Sears Wellness Institute) in the Savannah area as well as the only Eating Psychology Coach. The basis for our nutrition education is Traffic Light Eating.
COPE is a tax exempt 501(c)(3) charitable organization. We appreciate and welcome individual and corporate donations.