On April 6 at Brookside Park, United Way and our community partners sponsored a very successful kickoff for the afterschool nutrition education program that began the week of April 11. Thanks to generous grant support from the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation, students from six IPS schools will work with a fun interactive nutrition curriculum for six weeks that will teach the basics of healthy eating, introduce delicious, nutritious foods and teach the kids to be savvy shoppers and consumers. Over 175 people, including elementary students from IPS schools 14, 15, 27, 48, 51 and 69, parents and neighbors, participated in the event.
The kickoff featured a lively food preparation demonstration led by nutritionist Annessa Chumbley, R.D. Annessa, who developed the curriculum that will be used in the afterschool programs of John H. Boner Community Center and Edna Martin Christian Center, prepared a number of healthy snacks with the help of students from the audience. Annessa also taught the kids what foods were good for specific parts of the body and demonstrated some negative things that can happen to the body when "less healthy" foods make up too much of your diet.
Angela Dabney, Sr. V.P. for Resource Development at United Way, presented a plaque to Tracey Brown of the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation in appreciation of grant support for school-based health and wellness programming. Tracey congratulated the students on their participation in the kickoff and encouraged them to use the upcoming nutrition education opportunity to help them live healthy lifestyles.
Stephanie Mathes, director of community relations for the Indianapolis Colts, was on hand to encourage the kids to be physically active and eat nutritious foods. In addition, Stephanie presented a traveling trophy to the John H. Boner Community Center and Edna Martin Christian Center afterschool programs for kids' participation in the Play 60 Challenge last fall. Play 60 is an NFL sponsored initiative that helps kids be physically active for 60 minutes everyday. The Colts also provided healthy sandwiches from Subway for the kickoff.
In addition to the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation, the Colts, the John H. Boner Community Center and the Edna Martin Christian Center, a number of other partners supported the event and the upcoming nutrition program:
- FitCity provided technical assistance and access to professional consultants for program development.
- Indianapolis Public Schools provided staff expertise in program development and opened the doors of elementary schools and allowed their students to participate in programs.
- Indy Parks provided the facilities and staff support for the use of the Brookside facility.
- Pogue's Run Grocery and Food Co-op provided fruit and veggie trays and a free membership to the co-op as a door prize.
Thanks again to all who participated in this event! See more photos from the event here.
--Chuck Brandenburg, director, special project and grants, United Way of Central Indiana