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Cleaning Matters logo small July/August 2010


SNAPping Up Some Recognition2010 SNAP Award

Montana students earn top honors

SNAP (School Network for Absenteeism Prevention) is an annual awards program cosponsored by the American Cleaning Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services.

From its beginnings in the 2002/2003 school year as a pilot program, SNAP has evolved into an annual self-directed hand hygiene program designed especially for middle school students. The goal is to help middle school educators to easily integrate handwashing activities into the curriculum and offer students the opportunity to create fun handwashing awareness projects that could improve student and staff health and earn national recognition.

In June, the 2010 SNAP national award recipients were honored at a ceremony in Washington, DC. In addition to the recognition during this special event, the award package included an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, DC, for three people, cash awards and free product for the school.

To earn this top award, students in Forsyth, Montana, decided to teach their peers a lesson – about the importance of handwashing. McKenzie Sargent and Shannon Seleg, then ninth-graders, decided to base their Family, Care and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) project on handwashing after seeing that students' hand hygiene efforts could stand some improvement.

The students created a program they called "Operation Germ Destruction." They developed detailed lesson plans and obtained a grant from the county health department to purchase supplies to assist them in their education efforts.

McKenzie and Shannon gave presentations on the importance of handwashing to elementary and junior high school students and teachers. They also placed articles in local newspapers and school publications to reinforce the public health benefits of proper hand hygiene.

"It was exciting to watch my chapter members take the handwashing topic and create an energetic project that affected our students, as well as community members, organizations and parents," said Kim Knoche, the students' Family and Consumer Sciences teacher and the school's FCCLA advisor. The students' efforts received a gold medal at a state-level FCCLA event.

Teachers can visit the SNAP website – www.itsasnap.org – for information on how to participate in the program. Hand hygiene education materials that can be downloaded at no cost are also available on the website. It's not too early for schools to think about what they can do in the fall when they go back to school to improve hand hygiene and earn national recognition!

 

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