COLEMAN’S CHRIS DEN OUDEN EARNS OUTSTANDING SERVICE AWARD
Chris Den Ouden, the school nurse at Coleman Elementary School, has received statewide notice for her service.
Mrs. Den Ouden, who has been a school nurse since 1990, received the “Outstanding Service” award recently from the Missouri Association of School Nurses.
“Chris has been a driving force in each school to which she has been assigned,” said Eileen Duty, Coordinator of Student Health for the St. Joseph School District. “She is innovative and inspires students to be more responsible for their health and well-being.”
Mrs. Den Ouden has provided health services to students at Humboldt, Ellison, Coleman (twice), Lindbergh, Edison, Noyes and Pershing Elementary Schools.
When she served a Title school with high poverty, she saw a need for preventative health education and for interaction with students and their families. The result was a Health and Safety Fair, featuring 30 vendors, who provided health information to student families and neighbors.
She has also advocated for children with breathing problems and has sponsored programs reaching out to parents as well as students.
She helped pilot the “Healthy Buddies” program, a collaborative effort with the university’s nursing program. Student nurses were paired with children and engaged in activities pertaining to good health and healthy lifestyles. The program eventually was expanded to include other majors, such as psychology and social work.
Mrs. Den Ouden also has organized a Safety Day at Coleman, featuring booths and interactive learning focusing on bicycle and helmet safety, emergency room staff, and water safety.
She also has formed a pilates class for Coleman staff and works on the school team that addresses at-risk student needs.
“Chris is an intricate part of the school’s heartbeat,” said Dr. Michael Otto, Coleman’s Principal. “She goes more than one step beyond what is expected of a school nurse.”