There’s something special happening at Laveen School. More and more students are becoming vegetarians. They’re inspired by an after-school program called Live Pure Kids.
“I started the after-school program here educating our next generation on healthy living and disease prevention,” said Gavin Tucker, a Laveen School teacher and founder of Live Pure Kids.
The program has had some exciting moments throughout the semester, including participating in the Kidney Walk at Chase Field and a visit by former Arizona Cardinal, David Carter, also known as "The 300-Pound Vegan."
The next phase of Live Pure Kids involves the creation of a school garden, where they plan to grow a variety of vegetables and fruit.
“Carrots, onions, tomatoes, cilantro, jalapenos,” said Tucker, listing off some of what they plan to grow.
Meeting after school twice a week, students at Laveen have made big changes for their health based on what they’ve learned with Live Pure Kids. They each have their favorites, when it comes to what might be planted in the garden.
“My favorite vegetable is the carrot and I’d put it right here,” said Chris Mann, 14, an eighth grader who has been a vegetarian now for four months.
“Strawberries,” said Alex Bautista, 12, a seventh grader who has been a vegetarian for more than 3 months. “It’s sweet, so it can be like a good alternative to candy.”
These students have learned a lot because of Live Pure Kids and they’re excited to share some healthy tips.
“I would tell you to watch out for the 3 things that are in food -- salt, sugar and gluten,” said Alex.
“The past generation, they’re so used to drinking sugar and that just keeps on going for the next generation and we can change that,” said Awiliyo Abduloahi, 14, in the 8th grade at Laveen School.
Their teacher hopes that what these students have learned with Live Pure Kids will stay with them as they grow.
“Just being the best that they can be in life and pursuing their dreams,” said Tucker. “We’ve got to focus on what they’re consuming when it comes to their air they breathe, the water they drink and the food that they eat.”
Editor's note: The author of this article is a Community Partner and volunteer at Laveen School.