/PRNewswire -- The Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation has awarded $144,441 to organizations working to reduce childhood obesity among Georgia's schoolchildren.
The investments include a $73,300 award to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta (Children's) to support the Georgia Student Health and Physical Education (SHAPE) Partnership, a public-private initiative focused on improving student health and wellness. The partnership is the result of HB 229, signed by Governor Sonny Perdue during the 2009 legislative session, which requires all students in physical education courses to receive an annual fitness assessment.
"We are thrilled to help bring to life Governor Perdue's vision for improving the health and wellness of students," said Penelope McPhee, president of The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, of which the Falcons Youth Foundation is an affiliated fund. "We look forward to working with Governor-Elect Nathan Deal to extend the promise of the SHAPE Partnership to every student in Georgia."
Children's will use its grant to provide HOPSports Training Systems and technical assistance to five county school districts chosen to pilot the fitness testing: Hall, Gwinnett, Bibb, White and Lowndes. As a partner in the National Football League's Play 60 campaign, HOPSports has proven success in helping schools engage large numbers of students in physical activity at the same time.
Children's will also help two school districts, Muscogee and Forsyth, test a new product, Brain Breaks, which gives teachers up to 100 brief physical activity lessons – three to seven minutes each – drawn from the HOPSports content library. Increasing the time students spend in activity, even in short bursts, has been shown to improve classroom behavior and academic performance.
The Falcons Youth Foundation's latest round of grants also includes awards to:
YMCA of Metro Atlanta
$50,000 to launch in-school and after-school Falcons Fitness Zone programming at Peachtree Hope Charter School.
Sodexo-Jackmont/Atlanta Public Schools
$11,141 to support wellness programs teaching students healthy eating habits, including a breakfast program that increases participation by delivering nutritious meals directly to students and a program that offers Falcons-related prizes at six elementary schools to promote healthier menu items at lunch, including locally grown produce.
After-School All-Stars Atlanta
$10,000 to launch the Camp Carrot Seed project, engaging at least 50 Falcon Fitness Zone students in organic gardening and providing a source of food for City of Refuge families.
With these grant awards, the youth foundation's giving surpasses $1 million for 2010. In addition, this year the foundation is managing $47,000 in funds raised through sales of Atlanta Falcons specialty license plates, which will help SHAPE Partnership schools acquire HOPSports systems, and $3,500 in donations from a Falcons fan group, which will help the After-School All-Stars implement Camp Carrot Seed.
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