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Yvonne Sanders-Butler

Yvonne Sanders-Butler was born on November 27, 1957 in Vaughan, Mississippi. Sanders-Butler is the daughter of Ruthie and West Sanders, and the stepdaughter of Otis Lee Sly. Educated in the Durant Public School System and graduating from high school in 1975, she received her B.S. degree in communications from Jackson State University in 1979, her M.A. degree in counseling from West Georgia College in 1992 and her Ph.D. from Jacksonville University in 2002.

Sanders-Butler’s early years began as a radio personality. Later, she would hold positions in the collection and customer service industries until 1987. She began her career in education in 1987 with the DeKalb County School System. In 1995, Sanders-Butler became the principal of Browns Mill Elementary School in Lithonia, Georgia. As principal, Sanders-Butler became an advocate for student health care. After being admitted into the hospital for high blood pressure, Sanders-Butler was diagnosed with diabetes.

In 1998, Sanders-Butler began her healthy eating crusade at Browns Mill Elementary School. She created the first “Sugar Free Zone” in the United States, banned soft drinks, and instituted a new breakfast program that included oatmeal and other healthy foods. Sanders-Butler organized eating workshops, exercise classes for students and staff and worked to get local stores to carry nutritious snacks. Since the beginning of her crusade, student test scores have improved and disciplinary issues have declined. Nearly 100 teachers and administrators have contacted her about starting a similar program at their schools.

Sanders-Butler is the founder of Ennovy, an organization created to help ignite wellness and healthier lifestyles. She is the author of Dessert Lovers Choice and Healthy Kids Smart Kids.

Sanders-Butler and her husband live on their horse farm in Ellenwood, Georgia.

Sanders-Butler was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 25, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.109

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/25/2007

Last Name

Sanders-Butler

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Ebenezer Elementary School

Durant Attendance Center

Jackson State University

University of West Georgia

First Name

Yvonne

Birth City, State, Country

Vaughan

HM ID

SAN04

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Mississippi

Favorite Quote

When You Know Better, You Do Better.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Interview Description
Birth Date

11/27/1957

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Watermelon

Short Description

Health advocate and elementary school principal Yvonne Sanders-Butler (1957 - ) became the principal of Browns Mill Elementary School in Lithonia, Georgia. She was the founder of Ennovy, an organization created to help ignite wellness and healthier lifestyles and the author of Dessert Lovers Choice and Healthy Kids Smart Kids.

Employment

Durant Attendance Center

WKKY Radio

DeKalb County School District

Browns Mill Elementary School

Ennovy, Inc.

Favorite Color

Yellow

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565907">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Yvonne Sanders-Butler's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565908">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565909">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler describes her mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565910">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler describes her father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565911">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler describes how her parents met</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565912">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler lists her siblings, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565913">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler lists her siblings, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565914">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler remembers the community of Vaughan, Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565915">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler describes Ebenezer Elementary School in Ebenezer, Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565916">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler lists her siblings, pt. 3</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565917">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler describes her parents' personalities and careers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565918">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler remembers her early educational experiences</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565919">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler recalls her elementary school teachers, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565920">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler remembers picking cotton in Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565921">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler describes her struggle with attention deficit disorder</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565922">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler talks about her weight</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565923">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler describes her early aspirations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565924">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler remembers the Civil Rights Movement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565925">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler remembers the entertainment of her childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565926">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler recalls her early religious experiences</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565927">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler talks about the services of the Church of God in Christ</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565928">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler describes the Durant Attendance Center in Durant, Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565929">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler recalls her start at Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565930">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler describes her semester in Minneapolis, Minnesota</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565931">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler describes her career in the radio industry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565932">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler recalls moving with her husband to New Orleans, Louisiana</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565933">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler describes her start as an educator</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565934">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler talks about her eating disorder</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565935">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler remembers her stroke, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565936">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler remembers her stroke, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565937">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler describes Overeaters, Overcomers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565938">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler talks about changing her diet</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565939">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler recalls noticing the correlation between diet and learning at Browns Mill Elementary School in Lithonia, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565940">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler remembers talking to parents about their children's diet</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565941">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler describes her nutrition plan for Browns Mill Elementary School in Lithonia, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565942">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler describes the effects of her nutrition plan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565943">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler describes the teachers' response to her nutrition plan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565944">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler talks about her publications</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565945">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler talks about her recipes</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565946">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler describes Ennovy, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565947">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler talks about her family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565948">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565949">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler shares a message to future generations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/565950">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Yvonne Sanders-Butler narrates her photographs</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$5

DAStory

5$4

DATitle
Yvonne Sanders-Butler describes her struggle with attention deficit disorder
Yvonne Sanders-Butler describes her nutrition plan for Browns Mill Elementary School in Lithonia, Georgia
Transcript
You talked about having attention deficit disorder [ADD].$$Um-hm.$$They didn't call it that then. Was there anything that the teachers might have recognized or is this just something that you realized after growing up (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) I realized it, I realized it. I always knew I was different. I always knew that. But I think because there was something about my personality that people liked. I don't know what it was. I was a pleasure, you know. I was that person, if the teacher thought it, you know, I was right there, you know, with this big smile. And so, sometimes kids have personalities that's just sort of grate, I think, person's nerves, they did then. But I had a way of sort of reading people and figuring out what they wanted, even my parents [Ruthie Waters Sanders and West Sanders]. And those were the things that I did. But now that I know what kids with attention deficit with hyperactivity [ADHD] look like, and I've been a counselor, I know that I was a classic case. They would let me run errands. I would dust all of the erasers. Anything extra to do because once I finished my work, I wanted to talk to everybody and I wanted to--my boyfriend was in kindergarten through fifth grade with me. So I wanted to sit and help him read because he stuttered. And it was very important that he learned to read and so I would sit with him. And he never learned to read anything except what I wanted him to read. And I was just all over the place. Just--and so, really, I guess, they would let me go outside and play by myself. I could go outside and play, you know, by myself. And then I'd come back in.$$What type of student were you?$$I was a good B student, a good B student. I was a strong B student. I could make A's and perhaps if worked at it, I probably could have. I just thought that that was painful. I hated math. It was so painful to me. And I, I like art. I like drawing. I like acting, you know. Those other things were painful, you know, because you have to concentrate, you had to sit still, you couldn't talk, you couldn't move and I'm saying, "Oh, my god. Why do we have to do these other things?"$What did that plan consist of?$$Well, the first thing that we looked at and people always say, "Oh my god, she took all the sugar out of the school." Well, we came up with a plan well, well before the wellness policy came out two years ago, we created our own wellness policy in our school [Browns Mill Elementary School, Lithonia, Georgia]. We had a health committee that consisted of PTA [Parent Teacher Association] members, cafeteria workers, people on the school--the teachers, cafeter- the custodians, anybody that would touch a child's life in some way, we had to have representative. And we looked at the menus, what we served every day, how often we served it, what we could take away, what we needed to add. We looked at all the fried foods that we had. We look at how much fruit, how much dessert, which you had to have dessert every day. And of course, we had a southern state. I mean, just comes with the territory. We wanted as much fresh fruit and vegetables as we could have. We wanted to bake as much as we could. We looked at ordering more fish, chicken and turkey for protein. Of course, seven years ago, I wanted a lot of fiber. I wanted yogurt. I wanted soy milk. And I was told that, "Oh, my god, are you insane or what?" Well, today of course, we have that. But those were the things that we wanted. No more chocolate milk, no strawberry milk, no milk of any color. Parents had to agree that they wouldn't send fried chicken, the dinner from the night before, hot fries and all things that just were not supporting our health policy. And they agreed. We also looked at any parties that we had, Valentine's and winter holiday, Christmas parties, that they would not have every cake and pie in--that they could imagine and candy. Those were no longer things that would be a part of our school. We created our own list, preferred snack list for our students. And parents have abide- they've abided by that. But it didn't come without educating them. It wasn't something I told them; it's something we did together. And I brought in anybody, everybody that could educate them on how food worked with or against the body, how physical activity with or against the body. We looked at our physical activity program. We also bumped that up to include things that kids could relate to. Instead of things that they were doing fifty years ago when I was in elementary school; twenty-five sides drill hop, bend, touch your toe. You know, kids like dance, they like movement, they like yoga, they like aerobics. And so we looked at doing stations in PE [physical education]. And so, everybody agreed that we would move forward with a contract that every parent and student signs during registration. If they're new entering the school, they sign a contract saying what they will do to support their health and academics. And so, we became the first sugar free zone school in the country, in '99 [1999], 1999. And the kids actually said that because when they came for the first day of school that year said, "Oh my god. There's no chocolate milk, there's not even cookies, Dr. Butler's [HistoryMaker Yvonne Sanders-Butler] taken all the sugar out. This must be a sugar free school." And so, actually, that is how it started.