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Students make a difference with soap and water

Eighth graders in Belmont, California believe that water and soap help make a difference in reducing school absenteeism. And their efforts have been recognized nationally by a hand hygiene education program developed by The Soap and Detergent Association (SDA) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Students at Ralston Middle School in Belmont received top recognition from the Healthy Schools, Healthy People - It’s a SNAP! Program ( SNAP – the School Network for Absenteeism Prevention – challenges middle schools to develop programs that make hand hygiene a priority for the entire school community.

The Ralston eighth-graders created the Water and Soap Help! Program -- W.A.S.H. for short. With the help of a professional television studio, students created an infomercial on the importance of hand hygiene.

The W.A.S.H. creators also led in-school assemblies and researched and wrote papers detailing the importance and benefits of handwashing and proper handwashing techniques. The students also explained the consequences of not engaging in good hand hygiene practices – which can lead to the spread of harmful germs that can make you sick.

Additionally, the students are promoting the distribution of the increasingly popular silicone awareness bands, branded with a proper handwashing message. Students are furthering the project’s success by continuing to visit classrooms in other grades to educate students about handwashing.

As the Top Award recipient, Ralston school students receive an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C. and a celebration for the winning class. Students will also be honored at a reception in Washington, D.C. during National Clean Hands Week (September 18-24, 2005).

The SNAP program is available to middle schools throughout the school year. For information on how to participate in the SNAP program, visit the SNAP website at or contact

The Soap and Detergent Association, the Home of the U.S. Cleaning Products Industry SM, represents manufacturers of household, industrial, and institutional cleaning products; their ingredients; and finished packaging; and oleochemical producers. SDA members produce more than 90 percent of the cleaning products marketed in the U.S. SDA is located at 1500 K Street, NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20005.

For more articles about NATURE & KIDS

Young Birders Get Serious About Birding Fun
The Squirrel Family 0 Backyard Nature Safari
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Kids Learning Links
Buddy's Diner (for the birds)
Bird Profiles for Young Naturalists