Action for Healthy Kids® and GoGo squeeZ® Award $25,000 Grants to Help Three Urban Elementary Schools Transform Health, Learning, and Free Time for Students
CHICAGO (February 7, 2019) – Action for Healthy Kids® (AFHK) announces new recipients of school grants provided through funding from GoGo squeeZ® for the 2018-2019 school year. New this year, three schools will each receive $25,000 to transform their health and learning environments by implementing holistic health programs that facilitate the launch and/or expansion of initiatives that support physical activity, healthy eating, and unstructured time at schools through policy changes, new systems or built environments.
Ever increasing pressures on school administrators, educators and students to perform continue to erode time allotted to physical activity, free play and free time during the school day, even as research shows the benefits of these activities on children’s social, emotional and physical health and learning. In fact, children’s unstructured time has dwindled to a historic low of only 30 minutes per day on average¹. According to a national survey of parents conducted by GoGo squeeZ, 72 percent of parents feel their kids have less unstructured time when compared to their own childhoods. Only five percent of parents think school is a place where their kids engage in the most amount of free time.
Though unstructured time may be hard to come by these days for most families, a Pew Research Center study in 2015 also found that parents with annual family incomes of $75,000 or higher are far more likely than those with lower incomes to say their children have participated in extracurricular activities². The new grants from AFHK will help three urban schools—Funston Elementary School in Chicago, PS 18 John Peter Zenger Elementary School in New York, and Pacific Boulevard School in Los Angeles—provide more options for genuine unstructured time at school, promoting access to opportunities for physical activity, healthy eating, discovery and creative expression.
“Schools can be playful environments where self-direction, curiosity, imagination, and the health of the whole child is supported through physical activity and unstructured time,” says Rob Bisceglie, CEO of Action for Healthy Kids. “We are excited to take a more intensive approach with this select group of grantees in partnership with GoGo squeeZ and to show how kids can learn and grow in ways that come naturally to them and that can also be part of the school day.”
To raise awareness about this pressing issue and promote the importance of unstructured time, GoGo squeeZ this summer launched their “BE Time” initiative, which asks parents to commit to providing a minimum of 30 more minutes of unstructured time for kids each day.
“Kids today are facing unique challenges we did not experience when growing up,” says Helene Caillate, chief marketing officer for GoGo squeeZ. “The concept of ‘BE Time’ for kids is simply the time and space they need to nourish their imaginations, bodies, and relationships. Through our campaign and our work with Action for Healthy Kids, we want kids and families to find ways to enjoy more BE Time, both in and outside of school.”
Another 20 schools in 12 states will receive grants ranging from $500 to $1,000, using AFHK’s technical support and Game On program, to help expand student access to in-school physical activity and healthy foods, improve knowledge and behaviors around exercise and nutrition, and engage parents in activities that reinforce healthy habits at home. Grantees will use the funds for a variety of wellness purposes that introduce students to the benefits of an active, healthy lifestyle, including:
- Nutrition education: Supplemental nutrition education, school gardens, taste tests, healthy snacking, and healthy classroom parties and celebrations.
- Physical activity: Funding for physical education, active indoor and outdoor recess, classroom energizers, walking and running clubs, and before- and after-school programs.
For a complete list of schools supported by funding from GoGo squeeZ and to learn more about the partnership between AFHK and GoGo squeeZ and school success stories, visit ActionforHealthyKids.org/GoGosqueeZ. Learn more about GoGo squeeZ’s BE Time initiative at BETime.org.
About Action for Healthy Kids®
Action for Healthy Kids® is a nationwide grassroots network mobilizing school professionals, families and communities to take actions that improve school foods, nutrition education, physical activity and physical education for all students. Through funding opportunities, expert technical assistance, and our flagship program, Game On, Action for Healthy Kids supports schools in developing healthy environments where children thrive. To learn more about the ways our 150,000+ volunteer network is helping to make every kid healthy, active and ready to learn, visit us at ActionforHealthyKids.org.
About GoGo squeeZ®
GoGo squeeZ’s mission is to make it easier for kids and families to be healthier and happier. We’re proud to be the leading squeezable, all natural, 100 percent fruit in a pouch, since 1998. GoGo squeeZ makes on-the-go snacking nutritious and delicious with more than 30 flavors of squeezable applesauce, fruit & veggieZ and yogurtZ. Each pouch is crafted with the highest quality, natural ingredients. “BE Time” is GoGo squeeZ’s initiative to raise awareness about the benefits of letting kids BE.
Meet the Schools
Watch this inspiring video to learn more about the schools and their plans for transforming their learning environments to promote health for all students.
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