ConAgra Brands grant promotes fitness, nutrition for kids, families
Fitness, nutrition offered more extensively over Completely KIDS sites
By Adrielle Griffin
Completely KIDS Director of Marketing and Communications
Completely KIDS was pleased to be able to provide the Healthy KIDS, Healthy Families program over the past year thanks to funding by the Nourish Our Community grant from ConAgra Brands Foundation. The goal of the program was to engage low-income families to participate in physical activities, learn about healthy food choices, and to provide regular access to fresh, nutritious food.
“The staff at Completely KIDS is committed to the health and wellness of the children and families we serve,” said Ann Lawless, Director of Community-Based Programs. “We saw the opportunity to apply for this grant as a way to uphold that commitment and provide more extensive programming in the areas of food, nutrition and physical fitness.”
As part of Healthy KIDS, Healthy Families, Completely KIDS partnered with numerous youth fitness providers to offer activities for children in its afterschool program. Activities included First Tee golf, ballet, indoor soccer, ballroom and hip-hop dancing, and yoga.
Parents participated in family fitness classes such as yoga, Zumba and Insanity LIVE.
Additionally, Visiting Nurse Association provided its Cooking Matters class to children and families at multiple Completely KIDS sites. Cooking Matters is a nutrition-education program that helps families learn skills to prepare healthy meals on a budget.
Children practiced math and reading skills while working through recipes that demonstrate alternative, healthier ways to eat some of their favorite foods. Recipes incorporated well-balanced portions of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, protein and dairy. Kids participated in activities to reinforce the concepts of healthy eating. Parents learned what to look for on nutrition labels, how to meal plan and prepare a grocery budget while getting the kids involved in the shopping and food preparation.
Completely KIDS recognizes the importance of parent-child engagement and offers opportunities through regularly scheduled Family Nights for families to share a healthy meal together and participate in a fun activity. Through the grant program, Completely KIDS offered more nutrition and fitness-focused activities. For example, both parents and children hopped on a bike equipped with a blender that as each person pedaled, the blender turned fresh fruit into delicious smoothies.
With a commitment to getting healthy food into the hands of low-income families, Completely KIDS sends home bags of weekend food every Friday. During warmer months, the nonprofit also distributed fresh produce grown in its community garden, something that is often tended to by children in the afterschool program.
Due to participation in the Healthy KIDS, Healthy Families program, 64% of participants indicated a positive score in relation to exercise and health, while 73% of families stated that because of the Weekend Food Program, they felt secure their children would have something to eat.
“With Healthy KIDS, Healthy Families, Completely KIDS has been able to establish regular physical activity and nutrition education into our curriculum,” Lawless said. “These concepts play such a vital role in the holistic approach we take in working with families impacted by poverty. The grant allowed us to make it a standard across all of our sites.”