Wellness In The SchoolsTue 31 May 2011
Story by Nancy Easton & Bill Telepan
Nancy Easton, a New York City public school parent, educator and health coach and Bill Telepan, chef and author of the book ‘Inspired by Ingredients, created ‘Wellness in the Schools’ to serve fresh food and fight disease in New York City.
Wellness in the Schools (WITS) inspires healthy eating, environmental awareness and fitness as a way of life for Kids in NYC public schools. Through meaningful partnerships with school leadership, teachers, coaches, chefs, parents and kids, WITS creates hands on programs which provide healthy foods, healthy environments and opportunities for regular play to help kids learn and grow.
One such program - their ‘Cook for Kids’ program is a partnership between WITS and the New York City Department of Education’s Office of School Food, which operates in NYC public school kitchens and classrooms.
‘Cook for Kids’ is a non-profit program which deploys culinary school graduates in New York City public schools to support and train cafeteria staff in the creation of appealing meals from wholesome ingredients and the preparation and implementation of salad bars in an effort to combat childhood obesity and promote healthy eating.
In selected schools, the cooks also conduct seasonal cooking classes and offer regular demonstrations to teach children, parents and teachers how to cook delicious, nutritious and inexpensive recipes, using fresh local ingredients wherever possible.
Working in trifecta with NYC office of school food and individual principals, WITS have created new menus and helped the district to include healthy items and their program is rapidly equipping NYC schools to sustain scratch-cooking and healthy eating habits.
Cook for Kids is now in 19 public schools, providing delicious and minimally processed meals to 15,000 NYC schoolchildren.
What began as a grass-roots effort by a group of concerned parents is now gaining the attention of individuals and organisations across America, including the White House & First Lady Obama in her Chefs Move to Schools Initiative and of course the Food Revolution!
About the authors: Nancy Easton and Bill Telepan are the founders of Wellness in the Schools
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