MINNEAPOLIS, – The General Mills Champions for Healthy Kids Program, in partnership with the American Dietetic Association, has awarded a total of $250,000 dollars in grants to community-based organizations across the state for programs that support young people living healthy, active lifestyles.
The grants program awarded $10,000 each to 25 Minnesota nonprofits, schools and other organizations to develop fun, interactive programs that incorporate a fitness and nutrition component, and operate under the expert guidance of a registered dietitian. In addition to the Minnesota grants, General Mills awarded an additional $500,000 in grants to 50 other programs across the U.S.
The Champions for Healthy Kids initiative is a partnership of the General Mills Foundation, the American Dietetic Association Foundation and the President’s Council on Physical Fitness. Since 2002, General Mills has invested more than $18 million in overall youth nutrition and fitness programs that have served more than 3.5 million children nationwide.
This year’s Minnesota grant recipients serve children from a spectrum of racial, ethnic, geographic and economic backgrounds. They include:
o Jóvenes de Salud/Healthy Youth in St. Paul which represents a group of junior-high and high-school students who are trained as bilingual, bicultural community leaders and community health workers who educate their peers, families and community members about healthy lifestyles. The teens design and distribute culture-specific educational materials and presentations to young people on topics including healthy behaviors, health promotion and prevention. In addition, the group develops after-school activities to increase physical activity.
o GymAntics & SnackTastiks! in Cloquet, a weekly two-hour program for 2-5 year olds and their families that promotes fun and exciting physical activities and eating healthy snacks. The goal of the program is to increase the frequency of physical activity in children’s families and to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables families eat.
o Ready Set Action! in Minneapolis, which helps young people develop healthy eating, exercise habits and body image. The program was developed, piloted and tested by Illusion Theater and the University of Minnesota’s Department of Epidemiology to address growing rates of childhood obesity. The program uses Illusion’s prevention/education theater techniques as well as an assessment for in-school and after-school programs and take-home family activities. The goal is to provide youth and families in urban and rural settings with a tested, enjoyable program that fosters learning and engages families in healthy eating and exercise habits.
o CONECT in Wayzata, which promotes healthy eating and active living for economically disadvantaged children. CONECT, operated by Interfaith Outreach Community Partners, provides on-site services at eight affordable housing complexes in Plymouth. Children participating in Camp CONECT, an eight-week summer camp, will learn about nutritious food choices and the importance of physical fitness through fun interactive activities. Family participation will be encouraged.
“The number of overweight children in the United States has increased dramatically in recent decades,” said Judith L. Dodd, registered dietitian and chair of the American Dietetic Association Foundation. “Registered dietitians are uniquely qualified to help children develop healthful nutrition habits and programs like these are the perfect way for RDs and families to work together.”
An additional component of the Champions for Healthy Kids program includes sponsorship of the Presidential Active Lifestyle Awards in Minneapolis and other select cities, as well as the development of nutrition and fitness mentoring models.
To expand its support of youth nutrition and fitness education, General Mills also sponsors the Healthy Communities initiative focused in Washington, D.C., which has one of the highest rates of childhood obesity in the nation. As part of the program, General Mills recently awarded a $400,000 grant over four years to the United Way of the National Capital Area's (UWNCA) Child Wellness Initiative to promote fitness and nutrition among school-aged children in the District of Columbia. The program is a joint venture of the UWNCA, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education and Mayor Adrian Fenty’s Commission on Food and Nutrition.
“We believe in the power of youth, nutrition and fitness partnerships in communities across the country that help children make healthy lifestyle choices that last a lifetime,” said Ellen Goldberg Luger, executive director of the General Mills Foundation and a General Mills vice president.
Information on the General Mills Champions program, grant applications, best practices and model programs that can be adopted by any organization are available at www.generalmills.com/foundation. Additional information on the Presidential Active Lifestyle Awards can be found at www.presidentschallenge.org
The American Dietetic Association Foundation is the philanthropic arm of American Dietetic Association. It is a 501(c)(3) charity devoted exclusively to nutrition and dietetics. The Foundation funds scholarships and awards, education and research projects, and ADA strategic initiatives that promote optimal nutrition health and well-being of the public. It is the largest provider of scholarships and awards in the field of dietetics.
The mission of the General Mills Foundation, celebrating more than 50 years of giving, is to nourish communities. In fiscal 2009, General Mills awarded more than $90 million to communities across the country, representing more than 5 percent of company pretax profits that year. Of the total, the Foundation contributed $21 million in grants in the targeted areas of hunger and nutrition wellness, education, social services, and arts and culture. In addition, 82 percent of employees volunteer in the communities where they live and work.
2009 Minnesota Champions For Healthy Kids Grant Recipients
(Listed in alphabetical order by city)
Pine Point Farm to School Project
White Earth Land Recovery Project
The Pine Point Farm to School Project, operated by the White Earth Land Recovery Project, is an initiative that integrates issues of health, education and food. The goal of the program is to combat obesity and diabetes by providing nutritional education and physical activity through the Farm-to-School program, community gardening and building overall community awareness of healthy and active lifestyles. Nutritional information will be provided by a tribal nutritionist and teachers to incorporate healthy food in the school curriculum. The program also focuses on increasing physical activity through professional personal training, exercise assessments and BMI (body mass index) measurements. In addition, it features monthly community feasts and incorporates activities such as snowshoeing, walking and fieldtrips to area farms and orchards.
GymAntics & SnackTastiks!
Fond-du-Lac Head Start Programs
GymAntics & SnackTastiks! is a weekly two-hour program for 2-5 year olds and their families that promotes fun and exciting physical movements and eating healthy snacks. The goal of the program is to increase the frequency of physical activity in children’s families and to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables families eat.
Healthy CHAMPS (Choices Affecting My Preschooler) Phase II
Rice County Public Health Nursing Services
The second year of the Healthy CHAMPS program will outreach to at least 20 child care providers throughout Rice County. Providers will receive resources and education for promoting healthy food and physical activity for children. All information will be culturally appropriate. Goals of the program include increasing the knowledge of limited English-speaking populations on how ethnic foods can be part of a healthy diet, promoting physical activity by introducing families to resources in the community and partnering with others in the community to provide programs that are culturally tailored to meet the needs of diverse populations.
Mankato Community Education and Recreation-ACES School Age Care
Mankato Area Public Schools
The Mankato Community Education and Recreation’s ACES School Age Care program is participating in Destination D.C., a six-week summer program that tracks participant’s progress with the President's Challenge Active Lifestyle Program. Students take part in a simulated walk from Mankato to Washington D.C., learning about different cities and states along the way. The goal of the program is to increase physical activity as well as student’s knowledge of nutrition. A weekly newsletter is sent to parents in order to keep families involved.
Expansion of Bolder Options Healthy Habits Curriculum
The Healthy Habits program introduces 10-14 year old at-risk youth to healthy habits. Young people are matched with a mentor who supports them in setting and accomplishing healthy lifestyle goals. The youth participate in activities such as running or biking once a week with their mentor and compete in monthly community bike rides or 5K races. Participants also receive a membership to the local YMCA and attend educational meetings on nutrition, fitness and overall positive lifestyle choices.
Family Centered Childhood Obesity Prevention and Management
Fremont Community Health Services, Inc.
The Family Centered Childhood Obesity Prevention and Management program serves high-risk, low-income families from all racial and ethnic backgrounds who are un-insured or under-insured. Operated by Fremont Community Health Partners, the program aims to increase awareness of and combat childhood obesity and its link to chronic disease by teaching families about healthy lifestyle choices and options. The program engages young people in more physical activity, improves their diets by increasing the amount of water, fruit and vegetables they consume and helps families with meal planning.
Ready Set Action!
Illusion Theater and School, Inc.
Ready Set Action! will help young people develop healthy eating, exercise habits and body image. The program was developed, piloted and tested by Illusion Theater and the University of Minnesota’s Department of Epidemiology to address growing rates of childhood obesity. The program uses Illusion’s prevention/education theater techniques as well as an assessment for in-school and after-school programs and take-home family activities. The goal is to provide youth and families in urban and rural settings with a tested, enjoyable program that fosters learning and engages families in healthy eating and exercise habits.
Families in Motion
Pillsbury United Communities
The Families in Motion program works with young people and their families through existing after-school and summer programs at Oak Park Center in north Minneapolis. In addition to increasing nutritional knowledge and physical activity, participants participate in family dinner events and activity sessions such as swimming, martial arts, Dance Dance Revolution, gardening, and Wii Fit video games. The program also provides rewards for increased physical activity and celebrates student achievement.
Ce Tempoxcali – Yolcan Environmental Camps
Powderhorn-Phillips Wellness and Cultural Health Practices Center
The Yolcan Environmental Camps program provides culture and land-based nutrition lessons and physical education for Chicano and Latino children (ages 2-18) from immigrant families. The program aims to increase the physical activity of children and their families to two hours per week. To do this, group games directly linked to Aztec culture are taught. The camp will also regularly develop, prepare and present five Aztec veggie-packed healthy meals that families can replicate in their own homes.
Physical, Healthy, Driven (PHD)
YMCA of Metropolitan Minneapolis
Physical, Healthy, Driven (PHD) is an obesity prevention and nutrition education program targeting low-income children. PHD works with families to find an effective way to fight childhood obesity through exercise and eating right. The program will help children develop healthy lifestyles, increase the number of families who understand and practice good nutrition and increase participants’ strength, endurance and flexibility.
Pack it Up!
Emergency Foodshelf Network, Inc.
The Pack it Up! Program gives students and families resources to add nutritious food and physical activity to their lives. This partnership between the Emergency Foodshelf Network and Coon Rapids Middle School distributes healthy snacks to students attending an after-school program. The goal is to increase students’ participation in healthy behaviors both in the short and long term. The curriculum includes in-school and take-home activities that engage the whole family.
Otter Tail-Wadena Community Action Council Head Start
Otter Tail-Wadena Community Action Council Head Start
New York Mills
The Otter Tail-Wadena Community Action Council Head Start will address growing incidents of obesity in Head Start children and families. The program will incorporate the “I am moving-I am learning” approach into the curriculum, which will include activities to stimulate brain development such as nutrition lessons, the language of body movement and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Parents will learn about the activities through meetings and events to promote healthy choices at home.
Perpetual Fruit for Big Stone Kids
Big Stone Area Emergency Food Shelf
The Big Stone Area Food Shelf is piloting the Perpetual Fruit for Big Stone Kids program with elementary school families, who will plant a fruit tree in the home of every K-6th grader. Students will plant a variety of trees including apple, pear, cherry, plum and apricot. The program will provide fresh fruit to children in the community as well as engage them in physical gardening activities including planting, tree care and harvesting. A nutrition specialist will work with families to educate them about fruit consumption and preservation.
Healthy Recession Realities: Student Body
Family, Career and Community Leaders of America
The Healthy Recession Realities: Student Body program was developed by Family, Career and Community Leaders of America to teach children in grades K-6 economical ways to eat healthy and stay physically fit. The program plans to reach 240 teens in eight schools through creative, youth-led techniques. Children will learn about healthy and economical food choices. They will also develop lifelong fitness habits.
STRETCH Strengthening (Minds & Bodies) Through Recreation, Exercise and Teaching Children Healthy Habits Rushford-Peterson Schools
The Strengthening (Minds & Bodies) Through Recreation, Exercise and Teaching Children Healthy Habits (STRETCH), operated by Rushford-Peterson Schools, will provide youth with year-round opportunities to participate in physical activities and nutrition education. Families will have the opportunity to learn how to prepare healthy meals together, providing children the opportunity to learn how to properly prepare a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Dream of Wild Health
Peta Wakan Tipi
Dream of Wild Health will teach American Indian young people ways to reduce diabetes and obesity in the community. Young people will participate in activities such as gardening, walking, running and archery at the Dream of Wild Health farm in Hugo. The summer programs offered at the farm will introduce students to indigenous agriculture, teach the nutritional value of fresh vegetables and offer healthy recipes and techniques for food preparation. The program will emphasize nutrition and exercise in a culturally sensitive environment. Participants who successfully complete the programs become mentors for younger kids and leaders in the community.
Inver Grove Heights ECFE and Community Preschool - Fun with Fitness, Fruits and Vegetables by Five
South St. Paul Public School District
South St. Paul
The goal of the Fun with Fitness, Fruits and Vegetables by Five program is to increase the amount of fruit and vegetables children eat daily and increase their physical activity to at least 30 minutes a day. Operated by the South St. Paul Public School District, this program will, for the first time, introduce a new nutrition and fitness curriculum (Color Champions) to students and parents.
Jóvenes de Salud/Healthy Youth
Comunidades Latinas Unidas En Servicio, Inc. (CLUES)
Jóvenes de Salud is a group of junior-high and high-school students who are trained as bilingual, bicultural community leaders and community health workers who educate their peers, families and community members about healthy lifestyles. The teens design and distribute culture-specific educational materials and presentations to young people on topics including healthy behaviors, health promotion and prevention. In addition, the group develops after-school activities to increase physical activity.
Community Organizations Networking Compassionately Together (CONECT)
Interfaith Outreach & Community Partners (IOCP)
The Community Organizations Networking Compassionately Together (CONECT) program will be used to promote healthy eating and active living for economically disadvantaged children. CONECT, operated by Interfaith Outreach Community Partners, provides on-site services at eight affordable housing complexes in Plymouth. Children participating in Camp CONECT, an eight-week summer camp, will learn about nutritious food choices and the importance of physical fitness through fun interactive activities. Family participation will be encouraged.
Crosswinds Fit for Life
Crosswinds Arts and Science Middle School
The Crosswinds Fit for Life program, operated by Crosswinds Arts and Science Middle School, provides students the skills to plan and cook a variety of cultural, healthy meals using low-cost budgets. The program focuses on improving nutritional choices and increasing physical activity. Program participants select from a variety of recreational activities that cater to diverse students. The goal of the program is to help students understand the connection between being fit for life, academic achievement and life-long success.