The General Mills Foundation and the American Dietetic Association Foundation, in partnership with the President's Challenge, recently awarded 50 community groups and schools across the country with $10,000 grants that support innovative programs to help children develop lifelong nutrition and physical fitness habits.
This year's diverse grant recipients include School's Out Fun & Fitness in Sunnyside, Wash., in which Hispanic children and teens who are out of school for holidays, spend their free day at a local community center learning about nutrition, how to make healthy snacks and participate in games and other physical activity; Pyramid for Lift: Fit It In, a rural Topeka, Kan., program in which schools host monthly Family Fitness Nights; the St. Louis based Healthy Futures diabetes prevention program that inspires eight-to-eleven year old African-American children to maintain healthy eating habits and physical activity; the Denver Museum of Nature & Science's You are What You Eat exhibit, which teaches students about food nutrition, nutrition-related diseases, healthy eating and the benefits of physical activity; and the Kids Under Construction program in Maryland, which serves three- to five-year-olds who are cared for by their low-income grandparents.
All 50 programs have a fitness and nutrition component, and operate with the guidance of a dietetic professional. Since 2002, the General Mills Champions Grants Program has invested more than $6 million dollars in youth nutrition and fitness programs that have served more than 100,000 children across the country.
Additional components of the initiative include sponsorship of the Presidential Active Lifestyle Awards (PALA), as well as the development of nutrition and fitness mentoring models. For example, the Foundation supports the PALA program in Minneapolis Public Schools, where this year, some 11,000 second-eighth graders earned the PALA Award for completing the six-week fitness program.
"The program takes a grassroots approach that calls on community groups and schools to champion the future health of our young people by focusing on nutrition and fitness programs that can have a life-long impact," said Chris Shea, president of the General Mills Foundation.
Utilizing its resources and expertise on nutrition issues, the ADAF plays a critical role in evaluating the grant proposals.
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.