Mini grants offered to area schools to keep kids healthyAll across Minnesota, local public health agencies, along with schools, worksites and the community are implementing a groundbreaking program called the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP).
All across Minnesota, local public health agencies, along with schools, worksites and the community are implementing a groundbreaking program called the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP).
Five counties in west central Minnesota – Douglas, Pope, Stevens, Traverse and Grant – have joined efforts to form a regional SHIP project called West Central Wellness, to promote community policies that will improve the health of residents and reduce health care costs.
Signed into law in 2008, SHIP is an integral part of Minnesota’s health care reform initiative passed by the Minnesota State Legislature. Its goal is to help Minnesotans live longer, better, healthier lives by preventing the chronic disease risk factors of physical inactivity, poor nutrition, and tobacco use and exposure.
A first step for West Central Wellness has been to partner with Active Living Douglas County and offer Healthy Schools Healthy Kids mini-grants for K-12 public, private and charter schools (or school districts).
These mini-grants will give opportunities for schools to create sustainable policy, systems, and environmental changes that will give students increased access to nutritious foods and increased physical activity before, during, and/or after school.
Active Living Douglas County is a local coalition with representation from government, schools, and concerned citizens. The coalition’s work is supported by Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s long-term health improvement initiative Prevention Minnesota, funded by tobacco settlement dollars to tackle the root cause of preventable heart disease and cancer.
The Healthy Schools Healthy Kids mini-grants are competitive grants that need to support at least one or both of the selected intervention categories. The Healthy Nutrition intervention will implement comprehensive nutrition policies, which may include breakfast promotion; healthy meals and snacks, including classroom celebrations and incentives, fundraising, concessions, and vending; school gardens; and Farm-to-School initiatives.
The Active School intervention will implement policies and practices that create active schools, which may include increasing opportunities for non-motorized transportation (walking and biking to-and-from school); integrate more physical activity into the school day (before, during and after school); and access to school recreation facilities.
Healthy Schools Healthy Kids mini-grant applications must be received before 4:30 p.m. on March 26, 2010. Visit www.WestCentralWellness.org to download an application and learn more about West Central Wellness and SHIP. For more information on how to get involved, contact email@example.com.
Additional mini-grants, Healthy Communities for Healthy Living, will be released from West Central Wellness this spring for community organizations, clubs and groups to apply for. These community-focused mini-grants will center on increasing access to nutritious foods in the community.