The Salem Health and Wellness Foundation today announced the local schools with which it is partnering as part of the Healthy Kids, Bright Futures (HKBF) initiative, designed to address two issues of critical importance to local residents: childhood obesity and teen pregnancy prevention.
“Childhood obesity and teen pregnancy were identified during the strategic planning process as top priorities for funding support from the Foundation, and with today’s announcement we are highlighting the schools who have committed to address these important issues,” said Brenda Goins, executive director of the Foundation.
Through the Grow Healthy program, funded by the Foundation and conducted by Rutgers Family and Community Health Sciences Department with support from Food Corps volunteers, the school partners are: Quinton, Mannington, Elsinboro and Lower Alloways Creek elementary schools; Field Street School; John Fenwick Academy; Woodstown Early Care Program; Mary Shoemaker School; and the Special Services School District, Mannington. The Grow Healthy program assists schools in establishing a garden, train foodservice staff to provide enhanced healthy options for students, provide nutrition education to students, offer new ways to increase physical activity in the school day, and strengthen school wellness councils.
Foundation grantees Salem H.S. Youth Connections and the Food Bank of South Jersey are partnering to bring added nutritional and physical activity programming to Salem High School. Youth Connections currently runs the Get Up and Move program, which teaches proper nutrition, healthy cooking, and increased physical fitness to adolescent girls. Youth Connections is now partnering with the Food Bank to expand the Bank’s Healthy Baking for Teens and Cooking Matters programs at Salem High School.
For the teen pregnancy prevention initiative, the Foundation recognizes the great work already underway at Salem Middle School, which has partnered with the Center for Supportive Schools to bring the TeenPEP program to students. TeenPEP is a peer-to-peer program utilizing high school juniors and seniors as teachers for 6, 7 and 8th grade students. The goals of the program are to provide middle school students with the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to postpone sexual involvement, reduce unintended pregnancy and establish and maintain healthy relationships.
At Penns Grove Middle School, Foundation grantee Robins’ Nest, one of South Jersey’s leading non-profit providers of services to help children and families in need, is operating ProjectAIM, an evidenced-based program using group-level youth development interventions designed to reduce sexual risk behaviors. At the end of the program, students create an art project depicting what they want to be. These art projects are on display for parents, school staff, and community members at an event held at the end of the program.
For more information about bringing these programs to other local schools, please call the Foundation at 856-299-4460.
Brenda L. Goins,
Salem Health & Wellness Foundation