NYLPI And Allies Rally For Wellness Funding In NYC Schools

June 12, 2019

Environmental Justice, News

NYLPI Senior Staff Attorney Christine Appah joined New York City Council Member Rafael Espinal and other school nutrition advocates today at City Hall for a rally calling on city leadership to invest in wellness and nutrition education in all NYC public schools.

The advocates are calling for two items to be included in 2019’s budget: Wellness Coordinators – $50 million for a Wellness Coordinator in every school; and a Food Education Resource Hub – $250,000 in Speaker funding for a resource hub that will serve as a headquarters for wellness and nutrition programs.

The ask will cover salaries for 1,800 wellness coordinators to create and teach Nutrition Educational Programming in schools, starting in Fall 2019. Though nutritional programs currently operate in 71% of New York City public schools, they can vary in capacity and curriculum. Schools in lower income communities are less likely to have nutritional programs, creating a need for more centralization in the City’s approach to wellness. The Food Education Resource Hub will support existing programs by helping coordinate best practices, while also ensuring every child has equal access to wellness education.

Earlier this week, Council Member Espinal joined Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Department of Education’s Chancellor Richard Carranza at Vista Academy in East New York for the launch of the Yoga and Mindfulness Teacher Preparation Program. This pilot program is the first step in a citywide campaign to create a comprehensive strategy to prioritize the mental health of our children.

Christine said: “Although today’s children are facing higher rates of childhood obesity and diabetes, innovative programming and community support can mitigate and reduce these numbers. We urge the City Council to prioritize the funding that is necessary to continue moving our children towards healthier lives and futures.”

“The healthful future of our children requires a holistic shift in not only menus, but in education, to widen the scope of the common core to include hands-on nutrition and culinary education. Research published by the Tisch Food Center shows that nearly half the city’s schools lack access to external food and nutrition education programs. This must change,” said Andrea Strong, Founder and Director of the NYC Healthy School Food Alliance

Dr. Pamela Koch , EdD, RD, Research Associate Professor and Executive Director, Laurie M. Tisch
Center for Food, Education & Policy, said: “With this kind of learning, students gain knowledge and skills
to make food choices that promote health, ecological sustainability, and social justice. They gain
confidence to navigate our challenging food environments and persuasive marketing of unhealthy foods.

 

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