Got a cool school program? Apply for a wellness award

Got a cool school program? Apply for a wellness award
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Maybe your school is like Detroit’s Timbuktu Academy and has a “Try It Tuesdays,”  food-sampling program. Or perhaps your school participates in a Farm-to-School program, which brings fresh fruits and vegetables from Michigan farmers to local lunchrooms every month or maybe your school just introduced a school Smoothie Station or step competition.

If you are doing something new and want an opportunity to have your unique school program gain recognition, then consider applying for the Michigan School Wellness Award, which aims to recognize and showcase innovative efforts to promote healthier lifestyles.

There are many ways to do this, and all area school are eligible to apply for this respected award.

A healthy school environment can be created in three ways, state officials said. They are through establishing School Health Teams, completing the Healthy School Action Tools (HSAT) and implementing sustainable policy and environmental changes.

The deadline to receive completed applications is midnight EST April 19, 2017. The application, along with more information about the award, can be found at swa.mihealthtools.org.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, in collaboration with the Michigan Department of Education, United Dairy Industry of Michigan, Action for Healthy Kids and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, will recognize schools making significant improvements to their school environments related to healthy eating, physical activity and tobacco-free lifestyles.

Schools taking exemplary steps to improve the health of students and staff will be recognized this May at a special award ceremony at the State Capitol.

The School Wellness Award, originally known as the Healthy School Environment Recognition Program (HSERP), was established by former Gov. Jennifer Granholm after she learned about a number of healthy changes that had been made at a Michigan schools and the resulting impact on students, parents, staff and the community.

The Governor and Dr. Kimberlydawn Wisdom, Michigan’s former Surgeon General, joined with Michigan Action for Healthy Kids to develop the HSERP. They wanted schools to be recognized and applauded when outstanding changes were made related to healthy eating, physical activity and tobacco-free lifestyles. They also wanted these successes to be shared with other schools to motivate them to make positive changes to their school environments. The first awards were presented to 30 Michigan schools in 2006.

The HSERP was revised in 2014 and renamed the School Wellness Award. The platform was further updated in 2015. The School Wellness Award still addresses school environments related to healthy eating, physical activity, and tobacco-free lifestyles. Re-establishing this award is one of the objectives found in the Michigan Health and Wellness Plan, developed from input received during the 2011 Obesity Summit convened by Governor Rick Snyder.

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