Novi Schools' Nutrition Action Committee Receives Grant
Community Financial Credit Union presented the district with a $1,060 check Thursday.
The Novi Community School District received some financial support for its nutritional program in the 2011-12 school year.
Community Financial Credit Union awarded the Novi School Nutrition Action Committee with a check for $1,060 Thursday to help the district buy items for its “Chefs Move to Schools” initiative, which will be entering its second year.
The program, started as part of first lady Michelle Obama’s projects on child nutrition, encourages local chefs to work with school districts to introduce fresh and healthful food ideas to students.
“There’s so much overwhelming evidence that our children are not healthier today than they were 10 years ago,” said JoAnn Clements, director of nutrition and food service for Novi Schools. “We really feel like as a school district, it's up to us to model appropriate eating to the kids, and when we discovered this opportunity to pair up with a chef, we thought this would be perfect.”
Ina Cheatem, chef and owner of the Novi personal culinary service Fresh Delights, worked with Novi Schools and parent and nutritionist Michelle Thompson to pilot the program this past year. Each month, Cheatem went to Village Oaks Elementary School to do a hands-on project with a different grade each month, using healthful foods.
The nutrition committee’s goal was to help the schools find healthful recipes that the students actually like to eat.
“We want to make it fun, we want to make it interesting, and most of all, the food has to taste good. If it doesn’t taste good, it doesn’t matter how healthy it is,” Clements said.
She said the program was very successful and well-received and said the district will expand it to its other four elementary schools in the upcoming school year.
Even the students seem to be listening, she said.
“The whole culinary world is so popular right now, and kids are always very impressed and tend to listen more to someone with a chef’s hat on then they do their teachers,” Clements said.
But the program isn’t all fun and games. Clements said the School Nutrition Action Committee not only helps children fill their stomachs, it also helps fill their heads.
“Children who are hungry don’t learn. Children who eat well learn better. So from that perspective, we feel that it’s totally in line with the rest of Novi Schools' academic goals,” she said.
The $1,060 was donated by Community Financial as part of its Summer of Sharing program. The credit union is celebrating its 60th anniversary by giving away $1,060 each day to a local school group, community group or nonprofit organization for 60 days this summer.
Sarah Cousineau, Community Financial manager of marketing, said the Nutrion Action Committee was chosen for a grant because the credit union thought it was a great program and wanted to be a part of it.
“When we read their story, we loved that they were working to help kids develop good eating habits—and nutrition is so important in life—just kind of teaching them the skills that they need to be healthy throughout their lifetime,” Cousineau said.
The credit union's Summer of Sharing donations continue through the beginning of September, and you can nominate a local group that deserves financial aid at the Summer of Sharing website.