–Educators in Ohio and New Mexico Rewarded for Pioneering Programs Designed to Combat Childhood Obesity–
–Title I Schools in Alabama and New Mexico Receive $30,000 Grants to Enhance School and Community Wellness–
Silver Spring, Md. (April 29, 2014) – The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF) and Discovery Education announced today the winners of several challenges and sweepstakes as part of the Together Counts™ program, a joint initiative aimed at addressing the childhood obesity epidemic by encouraging educators, students and families to live active and healthy lives. As part of this year’s incentive programs, more than $200,000 in prizes will be awarded to deserving schools across the nation in an effort to extend the reach of health and wellness programs both in and out of school.
The following schools and educators have been selected as this year’s grand prize winners:
Find Your Balance Challenge:
The Find Your Balance Challenge, a program designed to reward student teams for taking steps toward achieving energy balance in their school communities, has named Sara Williams, a fifth grade teacher at Barry Elementary School in Clovis, N.M. as the 2014 grand prize winner for launching a wellness program for the school’s fifth grade students. Williams’ program, which saw 100% participation among the school’s fifth graders, emphasizes the importance of balancing energy in with energy out. Volunteers from the United States Air Force underscored the importance of physical activity and conducted mock physical training tests. To track their activity, students participated in a daily “mile marker” exercise initiative. Additionally, students were offered a nutritious breakfast each morning. A Title I School, Barry Elementary was also able to create a “backpack program” designed to send qualifying students home with weekend snacks and meals. In recognition of this massive effort, Discovery Education and Good Sports will award the deserving Barry Elementary with $30,000 in cash and new sporting equipment. The school will also receive an Ultimate Energy Balance School Assembly, and Williams will receive a five-night stay in a two-bedroom suite provided by Wyndham® Extra Holidays.
Smart from the Start Awards:
The Smart from the Start Awards program, a new incentive program launched this year in an effort to support and bolster healthy living initiatives for preschoolers, their families and communities, has named Keiana Davis, a Pre-K teacher at Just Like Grandma’s Childcare & Learning Center in Columbus, Ohio as the 2014 grand prize winner. The Center was awarded the grand prize for its “5/60 campaign,” designed to ensure that Pre-K students are eating five fruits and vegetables and exercising for at least 60 minutes per day. The team grabbed the attention of judges by creatively seeking support through community partnerships with organizations such as Yellow Tractor for their “Farm to School” program. As the grand prize winner, Just Like Grandma’s Childcare and Learning Center will receive a $20,000 grant as well as a prize pack of books.
Healthy Playground Makeover Sweepstakes:
Maryvale Primary School of Cheektowaga, N.Y. and Piedmont Elementary of Piedmont, Ala. have been selected as the grand prize winners of this year’s Healthy Playground Makeover Sweepstakes. Acknowledging the importance of supporting low-income schools, the sweepstakes proudly recognizes Piedmont Elementary as this year’s Title I grand prize winner. Each school will receive $30,000 in cash and new sporting goods equipment as well as a new playground from Playworld Systems.
According to the CDC in 2012, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese. The Together Counts™ initiative is a national campaign that is working to reduce that number by promoting active, healthy living through energy balance – balancing the calories we consume with the calories we burn. The program focuses its efforts on two critical areas – families and schools. It provides tips, tools and incentives for parents, teachers and school health professionals to use in encouraging energy balance. All resources are free, downloadable and available in both English and Spanish.
Lisa Gable, President of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation said, “It is great to see the dedication and creativity that goes into developing these award winning programs which help to increase students’ awareness of how to lead more active and healthy lifestyles. Our free, standards-based programming has provided schools across the country with an opportunity to compete for prizes and awards that make a real difference in their communities. We are particularly happy to see so many schools this year partnering with our member organizations, such as Yellow Tractor, to extend the reach of their programs beyond their classrooms and out into the community.”
“The Find Your Balance Challenge was a wonderful opportunity for our students to apply the health and wellness concepts that they learn about during class to an area of need at their school,” said Tamara Blake-Canty, principal at William E. Russell Elementary School, the 2013 Find Your Balance Challenge winning school. “This Challenge not only engaged students in applying current knowledge to the betterment of their school and community but also promoted student leadership and community stewardship.”
For additional information on the Together Counts™ initiative and to see a complete list of winners and prizes, visit: www.togethercounts.com.
About Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation
The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, a CEO-led organization, is a national, multi-year effort designed to help reduce obesity–especially childhood obesity–by 2015. It’s a first-of-its kind coalition that brings together more than 255 retailers, food and beverage manufacturers, restaurants, sporting goods and insurance companies, trade associations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and professional sports organizations. The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF) promotes ways to help people achieve a healthy weight through energy balance–calories in and calories out. It focuses its efforts on two critical areas—families and schools – through their Together Counts™ campaign.
About Discovery Education
Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-based digital content and professional development for K-12, transforming teaching and learning with award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia content that supports the implementation of Common Core, professional development, assessment tools, and the largest professional learning community of its kind. Available in over half of all U.S. schools and primary schools in England, community colleges and in 50 countries around the world, Discovery Education partners with districts, states and like-minded organizations to captivate students, empower teachers, and transform classrooms with customized solutions that accelerate academic achievement. Discovery Education is powered by Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the number one nonfiction media company in the world. Explore the future of education at www.discoveryeducation.com.
About Good Sports
Good Sports helps lay the foundation for healthy, active lifestyles by providing athletic equipment, footwear and apparel to disadvantaged young people nationwide. By partnering with sporting goods manufacturers, Good Sports gets crucial equipment to kids who need it most, getting them in the game. Since 2003, Good Sports has provided more than $10.4 million worth of equipment to 1,400 youth programs, impacting more than 912,000 kids. For more information on how you can support Good Sports, please visit www.goodsports.org.
About Wyndham® Extra Holidays
Wyndham® Extra Holidays specializes in offering quality vacation accommodations throughout the United States, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada, Fiji and Puerto Rico. Wyndham® Extra Holidays is a specialized provider of rental vacation accommodations and a part of Wyndham Vacation Ownership, which is headquartered in Orlando, Fla. A subsidiary of Wyndham Worldwide, Wyndham Vacation Ownership is the world’s largest vacation ownership business, as measured by the number of vacation ownership resorts, individual vacation ownership units and owners of vacation ownership interests.
About Playworld Systems
Playworld Systems believes The World Needs Play®. Play is vital to everyone’s health and well-being. It’s something you are never too young or too old to enjoy. We develop playground environments where creativity is king, belly laughs are welcome and children make the rules. Playworld Systems equipment is designed to unleash the transformational power of play so bodies grow stronger and imagination can take flight. For more than 40 years, Playworld Systems has created innovative, inclusive and meaningful outdoor play experiences for all ages and abilities. Come play with us. For more information, visit PlayworldSystems.com.