KENILWORTH – Harding Elementary School in Kenilworth has been award a UnitedHealth HEROES grant to provide additional equipment for physical activity for students during recess.
The school is one of nine New Jersey-based youth-led organizations that were awarded funds to support programs to fight childhood obesity in their communities.
The grants are part of the UnitedHealth HEROES program, a service-learning, health literacy initiative designed to encourage young people, working through educators and youth leaders, to create and implement local hands-on programs addressing childhood obesity. Grants were awarded to schools and youth-focused, community-based programs that have demonstrated a clear understanding of the health risks associated with pediatric obesity; proposed creative solutions to fighting obesity in their neighborhoods and communities; and can be easily implemented, scaled and measured.
Other grant recipients include:
Restoration Human Services, Inc. (RHS) received a grant to partner with high school age youth residing in the City of Newark and surrounding communities to facilitate project “Fit for Life 2011.” RHS will select 25-30 high school students as Youth Delegates to research childhood obesity with their efforts culminating in the “Fit for Life” Challenge on Global Youth Service Day, April 16, 2011.
Burlington Township High School Girls’ Soccer Team received a grant for Project SOCCER (Soccer Opportunities Camp Conference Exercise and Recreation). The project engages 142 teammates and 203 collaborating volunteers to directly impact at least 2000 female community participants.
Campus 9 School received a grant to expose group participants to the concept of “food deserts” and will encourage them to create awareness of the lack of access to health food sources and markets in urban areas. Once students complete the program, they will develop a presentation for youngsters at the East Orange School District about healthier food choices.
Red Bank Charter School’s Seventh Grade Class received a grant to investigate staff and student eating habits, film four public service announcements and host a spring health fair.
Indians of New Jersey in Bridgeton received a grant for its “Dance and Drum for Health” program which promotes physical activity and self esteem through traditional dancing and drumming to combat tribal childhood obesity.
Cape May City Elementary School received a grant to work with the school cafeteria to deliver healthy snacks to students in their classrooms throughout the day and encourage students to do a poster project on their favorite fruit or vegetable.
The Community YMCA of Matawan received a grant for its eight-week program “Preventing Childhood Obesity – Instilling Healthy Lifestyles” program to promote incremental changes in habits to help families make deliberate and fact-based lifestyle choices.
Toms River Youth Services received a grant for the “Fit Kidz” program that focuses on creating fun exercise programs to battle childhood obesity.
“With UnitedHealth HEROES, we are helping young people take action to improve their overall health and quality of life in a way that’s not only educational, but beneficial for their communities,” said Michael McGuire, chief executive officer, UnitedHealthcare of New Jersey. “As people become more aware of health issues through health literacy and advocacy initiatives, they will make positive changes to live better lives.”
“We believe these grants will empower teams of students to collaborate with teachers and community leaders to develop their own awareness of how to make their schools and neighborhoods healthier. In reviewing the grant applications, we were inspired by the creative ideas young people came up with to help fight obesity and encourage healthier living,” said McGuire. “The UnitedHealth HEROES grants are part of UnitedHealth Group’s overall commitment to help stem the rising tide of obesity, and related chronic health conditions like diabetes.”
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