By Chris Bavender
For the second year, Carmel Elementary School has been awarded a grant from Fuel Up to Play 60 – sponsored by the NFL and the National Dairy Council.
The $3,500 grant will provide funding for physical and nutritional incentives with the goal of encouraging students to eat healthy and move more.
“To receive this means that our hard work is paying off and we are able to provide some wonderful incentives for our students. It reaffirms our strong wellness initiative and helps to raise awareness for our students and assist them in making good healthy choices,” said Jeannette Gould, the school’s wellness coordinator. “It is wonderful to know that our wellness program is being recognized by such a wonderful national organization whose goals we share in promoting student health.”
Gould and school nurse, Diane Braun, applied for the grant on behalf of the wellness committee at the end of October, and learned the good news in mid-December. Gould said the process to apply was simple.
“You complete an online school wellness investigation to assist in identifying your school’s strengths in nutrition, physical education/activities and family/community,” she said. “There is an online application to be completed that details funding request and goals that involve both a healthy eating plan and a physical activity plan that you designate based upon their ‘playbook’ of school tested strategies for creating a healthy environment.”
The grant will continue to help improve education at the school, Gould said, because better nutrition and being physically active have been shown to improve overall academic successes.
“By receiving this funding we are able to enhance and build upon what we began last year. Last year we were able to purchase some wonderful heart rate monitors for the school that assist the students in better understanding their cardiovascular health,” she said. “Providing the jicama and fig tasting to the entire school has helped to expand some of their meal choices.”
This year, the school will use the money to add activity stations around its 1/4-mile walking trail.
“These are focused on strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular health,” Gould said. “We are also doing some great yogurt parfait sampling for our students to encourage them to make some healthy food choices.”
Carmel Elementary School has also been designated as a “Touchdown School” by the Fuel Up to Play 60 organization by meeting six different aspects of health and fitness promotion.