Thanks to Catalyst’s Activate: U Mini-Grants, nine schools and community groups have been busy implementing initiatives to make their worlds healthier. We awarded the mini-grants of $1000 late last year, and are beginning to see the programs they’re going towards flourish. Check out the cool stuff going on with each of our nine mini-grant recipients below.
1) Madelia High School
Students at Madelia High are using their mini-grant funds to help pay for their new, healthy vending machine. The machine is refrigerated, and thus makes room for such delightful treats as low-fat string cheese or yogurt. Students are also implementing a healthy vending foods taste test, as a way to introduce and promote the new machine to their peers.
2) MN FCCLA
FCCLA stands for Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, and its designed to build character and leadership skills in Minnesota youth. FCCLA is using its Activate: U grant money for its “Spark Your Motivation, Ignite Our Determination!” campaign. The purpose of the campaign is to develop impacting messages with teens and for teens to increase fitness, reduce obesity and create awareness of healthy food choices. Strategies include: Walking school buses, FCCLA leaders developing and promoting events and projects to educate youth on healthy choices for families and communities, FCCLA leaders working w/ caterers at the state conference to have fruit-infused water stations, and FCCLA youth leaders creating an original skit on fruit and veggies to perform at the state conference.
3) Windom High School
A group of students at Windom High School formed a Catalyst student group, that meets throughout the year to discuss ways to bring healthier food to their school. They work with food services, students and parents to promote and serve healthier menu options. The Catalyst group used the Activate: U grant to taste test a yummy and healthy Southwest salad, and they plan on conducting more healthy food taste tests this spring.
4) North Junior High (Hopkins)
Catalyst funds are helping North Junior High start a youth bike club! The Hopkins School district is in its second year of promoting Safe Routes to School to increase physical activity of youth, reduce traffic congestion and pollution around the school and to build stronger community connections. The bike club will help further this mission. Mini-grant funds will be used to by bike repair tools and promote the club among students.
5) Jackson High School
Jackson is working on developing healthy vending options in its vending machine, and promoting those options. It wants to use surveys to determine which healthy options students will enjoy, and then promote and educate students on why those are healthy options. Promotional ideas include posters, videos, t-shirts, buttons, etc…Catalyst funds are helping provide promotional materials and materials for taste tests.
6) Edison High School
Edison is trying to encourage students to bike and walk to Edison, however bike theft is a major issue. Edison students are unable to afford U-Locks because many of them come from families with very limited income. Edison is using the Catalyst mini-grant to start a U-lock sharing program where students can check out a lock from the library for a specific period of time (similar to how students check out books). Students would be able to check out locks for a period of time, and would be responsible for giving them back. With the assurance that their bike will be safe throughout the school day, hopefully more students will be encouraged to ditch the bus or car in favor for a bike!
7) Crosswinds Arts & Science School
This year, Crosswinds Arts & Science School, a 6th-10th grade magnet school, will use Catalyst funds to implement and disseminate its Farm to School efforts (gardening club, and using its produce in the school salad bar) and its international peace garden. Also, this year it will recruit student members for Catalyst from our just-formed Crosswinds 4-H Club.
8) Wellstone International School
Wellstone is, a diverse, urban school, in the heart of Minneapolis, is using Catalyst’s grants for its bike club. Wellstone plans on purchasing u-locks and pro-bicycle t-shirts to distribute at “Resolve to Ride” Bicycle Celebration at Roosevelt/Wellstone High School in mid April 2012.
9) River’s Edge Academy
River’s Edge is using Catalyst funds to encourage students to safely use a bicycle as transportation to either get to school or replace trips in their neighborhood. Many students who have a bike don’t have lights, helmets, or locks due to finances or an unwillingness to devote resources to items that are not perceived as necessities. River’s Edge will offer these items to students who pledge to take 10 trips by bike that would normally be accomplished by vehicle.