The General Mills Champions for Healthy Kids initiative, in partnership with the American Dietetic Association, has awarded $500,000 in grants to community-based organizations across the United States for programs that provide youth with the tools they need to live healthy, balanced and active lifestyles.
The initiative provides 50 grants of $10,000 each to nonprofits, schools and community organizations to develop creative ways to help kids of all ages incorporate physical fitness and good nutrition into their daily lives.
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 nearly $19.5 million in youth nutrition and fitness programs that have served more than 4.8 million children nationwide.
"Our biggest priority, through our partnership with the General Mills Champions for Healthy Kids initiative, is the health of our nation's children," says Judith L. Dodd, registered dietitian and chair of the American Dietetic Association Foundation. "This is a complex issue that requires the combined effort of families, schools, communities, corporations and health professionals such as registered dietitians to address the issue. By working together we can make a difference."
Now in its eighth year, the initiative continues to support programs that reach out to children from diverse racial, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. They include:
-- Y on the Move in Providence, RI- This mobile outreach component of the Greater Providence YMCA uses a fully equipped vehicle to bring staff and fitness and exercise equipment to at-risk neighborhoods. Y on the Move is provided free of charge to all kids and is designed to engage youth in improving healthy eating and increasing active living. The program is being expanded to reach elementary and middle school students, linking them with existing programs for high school youth. The program includes family-focused nutrition and structured physical activities.
-- Growing a Path to Wellness, Inola, OK- Students will have a unique opportunity to learn about all aspects of nutrition by constructing a greenhouse and growing their own fruits and vegetables. The garden project will engage students in propagating plants and learning gardening skills as they increase their knowledge of nutrition and healthy cooking. Students will also learn how to incorporate fun fitness activities into their daily routine. The program will help high school students mentor younger students and serve as a model for other communities interested in increasing awareness of fitness and nutrition in their schools.
-- Bright IDEA: Keeping Kids Healthy, Weslaco, TX- Bright IDEA believes changes in home and school environments can increase student awareness about the importance of eating nutritious foods and engaging in regular physical activity. The program will engage students and their families in making healthier lifestyle choices through farm visits, nutrition education and physical activity competitions, and cooking clubs. Students will increase their exposure to fresh fruits, veggies, and other healthy foods through experiential learning. Bright IDEA will also promote positive relationships between the school and community through a quarterly newsletter, a wellness website, the Family Fall Festival, and Wellness Week for students, along with a community-wide spring wellness event.
"Continuing to raise awareness of the importance of increased physical activity and good nutrition for all our youth is so important," says Ellen Goldberg Luger, executive director of the General Mills Foundation. "We believe these programs provide a foundation of learning to help our youth and their families enjoy the long-lasting benefits of a healthy lifestyle."
Information on the General Mills Champions initiative, grant applications, and best practices that can be adopted by any organization are available at www.generalmills.com/foundation.
The American Dietetic Association Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the American Dietetic Association, 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. 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 2010, General Mills awarded more than $100 million to communities across the country, representing more than 5% of company pretax profits. 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% of employees volunteer in the communities where they live and work.