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JCPRD program receives grant for Wise Kids nutrition initiative
POSTED: 05/06/2009
The grant, which is through the Sajai Foundation, will take the form of a Wise Kids program kit valued at $1,650. This national initiative is designed to assist youth ages six to 11 in making smart nutrition and activity choices.

Prairie Ridge School-Age Director Justin Chesser agreed to serve as pilot facilitator for this program. The local Wise Kids program will be implemented as part of the curriculum for his Prairie Ridge Summer Camp.

Wise Kids is a nine-week program which introduces the concept of Energy Balance. This basically means that Energy IN (energy from food and drink) needs to be balanced with Energy OUT (energy expended through daily living and physical activity). Participants will explore how this works through Energy IN and Energy OUT lessons.

As a grant recipient, the local program will take part in a study to collect data which NRPA will use to determine future initiatives. The program kit includes workbooks, training guides, a training and marketing CD, an access online survey tool, 50 pedometers, two food pyramid bingo games, two sets of food cards, two sets of test tubes for activities, 100 temporary tattoos, and posters.

Chesser said his goal is to put all the workbooks to use and get all his participants and staff fully involved in the program. He anticipates the curriculum will cover basic nutrition and the food pyramid, keeping fitness journals, as well as outdoor physical activity, Chesser anticipates the program will involves about two hours of activities each week, plus another hour or so of planning. Currently, Wise Kids programs operate 27 states, including one in southwest Missouri.

Grant recipients must have all participating youth complete surveys at the beginning and at the end of the program, and complete these surveys and required reports by Sept. 25 of this year.

According to its website, the Säjai Foundation "is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to working with local communities to educate kids about how to live a healthier life by encouraging them to get outdoors, to get active and to make smart nutrition decisions."

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