Health First and the Brevard Schools Foundation have partnered together during this school year to create a mini-grants program. Teachers from Title I schools apply for funding to support initiatives and programs that focus on health and wellness activities and have measurable outcomes. Awards are based on:
Projects demonstrating a business and/or parent involvement receive bonus points.
Health First is proud to award its "Making Kids Healthy" grants for the 2013 fall semester to the following programs:
Sabal Elementary School in Melbourne, "Second Grade Technology Making Kids Healthy" -
The students learn about nutrition and physical activity by recording their "Diet Diary" and "Seven Minute Workout" into one of the 15 iPads purchased by Health First. The "Diet Diary" tracks the foods each student has eaten, calculating the number of calories he or she has consumed. The students learn how much energy needs to be expended to burn those calories and which foods are empty calories and considered unhealthy. The exercise component of the program helps students burn their excess energy and become more focused during class. According to Ms. Godfrey, the class instructor, plans are to share the equipment with the other second grade classes at Sabal. By understanding the concept of calories and what they are putting into their body, this knowledge will be applied toward the science curriculum. An evaluation quiz will be given at the end of the semester to measure the success of the program.
Riviera Elementary School, Palm Bay, "YOGATTA Have Success" -
A yoga class was formed for 25 girls in grades 4 and 6 performing in the lowest 25% in academics. Approximately 80-90% of these students receive free or reduced lunch. Health First purchased the yoga mats as well as a flexibility device to measure the students' balance. The yoga classes are held three times a week and according to Ms. Freund, the program instructor, "This has been the most rewarding grant ever in over 20 years of teaching." A couple students who were interviewed said they have been teaching yoga to their parents at home. According to Ms. Freund, research has shown that yoga helps students get better test scores, improves self-esteem, and helps prevent depression. The two yoga classes are planning a presentation to their parents in May which will be recorded on a DVD and each student will make their own imovie about the program.
Westside Elementary School, Palm Bay, W.E. F.I.T. -
This program began with the sixth grade students and has since been introduced to the third, fourth and fifth grades. Ten heart rate monitors and an iPad Air were purchased by Health First. Data from the ten monitors is displayed at real-time and is color-coded. The students' targeted heart rates are measured as well as their current level of activity. When the target heart rate is achieved for a specified length of time, a medallion is earned and incentivizes the students to earn more medallions. Reports are printed from the iPad which includes a graph showing each studentā??s heart rate, length of time exercising and intensity of the activity. Warm-ups are held at the beginning of class and activities include shooting baskets, jump-roping, hula hoops, Zumba and playing kickball. According to Ms. McKinney, the instructor, this program has inspired many sixth grade girls, who normally don't like to exercise, to participate more in PE class.
Supporting health and wellness of children in our area schools is just one of the many ways Health First gives back.