2010 Grant Recipient: Vida Charter School

Located in an ethnically, socio-economically, and culturally diverse Pennsylvania neighborhood where proper nutrition is lacking, Vida Charter School will use the grant money to purchase food and cooking equipment for its Food is Elementary Program.

Learn more about the CWC nutrition grant program at: http://www.consumerwellness.org/NutritionalGrantProgram.html

Update: May, 2011

Dear Consumer Wellness Center,

Throughout this year, the 85 kindergarten through fourth grade students of Vida Charter School have participated in an adapted application of Antonia Demas’ Food is Elementary curriculum. In the first semester, they studied food groups and sub food groups (vegetables, vegetables that are botanically fruits, leafy green vegetables, fruits, citrus fruits, local fruits (apples), protein-rich foods, whole grains, whole grain breads, also vitamins, calcium-rich foods, red meats and the importance of exercise). Most weeks they sampled an assortment of foods from that week’s group. Chef Ann Cooper's Healthy Kids’ Meal Wheel served as a graphic to base conversations regarding proportions of different types of foods needed for healthy bodies. During second semester, lessons focused on a different culture each week, with activities centered on making a recipe from that culture. Many weeks, a community member from the given culture visited and shared personally about her or his heritage and helped to cook. Each week the recipe was translated and sent home to each family in their home-use language.

Children practiced not only food preparation skills, but also communication skills, with two groups each week presenting what they learned and what they cooked with another class, after which both classes would sample the foods together. We’ve encouraged an “I’ll try it” attitude in respect to all foods, and many children have indeed found new foods that they like. Others have actually tasted little, but have eagerly participated in the food preparation, which we hope to be a step in their process of learning to eat healthy foods.

It’s been a challenge to channel the energies of 18-27 children cooking at a time, and we couldn’t have realized our program without the support of various parent volunteers who helped to supervise hand-washing, cutting and mixing and helped immensely with serving the samples and clean-up. This has helped to make it a school community activity enjoyed by all.

Thanks again for the Consumer Wellness Center grant that helped us to purchase ingredients and cooking utensils and cover clearance checks for parent volunteers! We fully utilized the grant to cover these expenses.

As we wrap up our nutrition and foods program for this school year, the children’s enthusiasm inspires us to provide on-going opportunities for hands-on learning about healthy food in future school years. Please keep Vida Charter School inmind in the future if you again are looking to support healthy food experiences with children!

Thanks so very much,

Audrey Hess, RD
Volunteer nutrition educator
Vida Charter School