Keep Your Immune System Going Strong this Winter Season

stock-photo-two-older-women-exercising-and-smiling

‘Tis the season for coughing, stuffy noses, and germs to be spread as we gather indoors to celebrate the holidays and winter months together. While most viruses can’t be completely avoided, there are some important steps you and your family can take to put your best foot forward. COVID, FLU, and RSV are spreading around our communities, plus many other forms of the common cold are spreading as well.

Staying up to date on your recommended vaccines is the most important step you can do to protect yourself from serious complications that can arise from these viruses. This is the first winter season where we have effective vaccines to protect ourselves from all three forms of these viruses! Please consult with your primary care physician to see which of these vaccines you may be eligible for. Remember that it takes approximately two weeks for your body to build full protection from each vaccine, but partial protection may be offered during the earlier days of your vaccination.

Naturally boosting your immune system is another important way to stay healthy. Eating healthy foods, staying hydrated, keeping physically active, getting quality sleep, and keeping stress levels low and manageable, are great ways to help support your immune system so that it works as effectively and efficiently as possible. Other ways to prevent the spreading of germs include washing your hands often, not touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands, wearing a mask in crowded settings, opening windows to increase ventilation, and staying home when sick. Please visit the Center for Disease Control (CDC) webpage to learn more prevention strategies that can help support you and your family during this winter respiratory illness season.

stock-photo-two-older-women-exercising-and-smiling

PHS Team Volunteers in Detroit to Curb Food Waste

phs-team-posing-for-picture-after-volunteering

On November 28th, the PHS team came together to spend the day volunteering at the Make Food Not Waste organization in Detroit. Their mission is to keep food out of landfills and to slow climate change by creating lasting solutions to food waste through education, food upcycling, and advocacy. The PHS team volunteered in the Upcycling Kitchen located at the Salvation Army where we spent several hours chopping up cabbage, potatoes, cauliflower, and squash that will be used by their team of chefs each week to create delicious, nutritious, and complete meals for the community. Let’s just say that our knife cutting skills are now sharp as ever! They are currently running a campaign if you’re interested in donating to this wonderful organization. We look forward to volunteering more in the future!

Professional Chef Louis Gives a Fun and Festive Cooking Demo at Holly Academy

photo-of-caramel-apples-for-a-wellness-initiative

Holly Academy is a 2nd year school with Project Healthy Schools located in Holly, Michigan. To ensure students are receiving proper education surrounding health and wellness, Holly Academy has created a marking period health class for middle schoolers. This class utilizes the ten core lessons from PHS, PHS’s supplemental lessons on vaping and infectious disease, as well as lessons from the Michigan Model for Health covering Social Emotional Learning and other topics pertaining to health and wellness. As a special treat, Holly Academy partnered with PHS and Chef Louis Goral to bring a cooking demonstration to the class in October where students learned how to make healthy candied apples. Chef Louis Goral demonstrated knife skills and food safety, and in support of farm to school month, discussed the importance of buying local. To support farm to school month, Holly Academy, Chef Louis Goral, and Project Healthy Schools utilized local apples brought to us by the Michigan Apple Committee and locally made honey and maple syrup. Get an inside look at the event by viewing this video!

PHS Hosts Annual Wellness Champion Gathering

project-healthy-schools-logo

Thank you to all our schools who attended this year’s PHS Wellness Champion Gathering! For those who missed the event, you can watch the recorded sessions here. A special congratulations to Munger Elementary School and MacDowell Preparatory Academy who attended the gathering and won the two $250 PE Equipment Prize Packages. At the event, the following two surveys were presented. Please take a few moments to complete the surveys below so your voice can be heard.

PHS is turning 20! Next school year, Project Healthy Schools will be celebrating our 20th anniversary and would love to hear from you! We are seeking wellness champions, students, and wellness teams to submit a video testimonial about your experience with PHS. If you or your wellness team would be interested, please follow this link to complete a brief interest form: PHS 20th Anniversary Video: Wellness Champion Interest Form (google.com)

As we continue to keep our curriculum and lesson plans current, we have some exciting changes to our lesson plans that will be available in the 2024-2025 school year. We will be hosting focus groups in the spring of 2024 to receive teacher and wellness champion feedback and would appreciate your feedback! There will be opportunities to participate in focus groups in person and virtually though Zoom. If you are interested, please follow this link to complete a brief interest form: https://forms.gle/DQ6hwBBRdAgwf3qdA

Winter PHS Wellness Grant Application Now Open!

hillman-students-posing-with-school-supplies

For select PHS schools, the Winter PHS Wellness Grant application is now available. Eligible schools can apply for $100-$1,000 in wellness funds to support health and wellness initiatives to support the well-being of your students and staff. Winter applications are being accepted from December 1st thru January 31st. Please reach out to your PHS Wellness Coordinator (Brad, Jacob, or Melissa) if you have any questions on this funding opportunity. Need wellness ideas for your application? To date, we have funded multiple projects in schools across the state, including (but not limited to):

• PE Equipment
• Pickleball sets
• Exercise equipment (treadmills, ellipticals) for staff wellness rooms
• Blenders for smoothies
• Cooking class supplies
• Yoga mats
• Mountain bikes and roller skates
• And so much more! We encourage schools to be as creative as possible!

We are looking forward to receiving your application so we can continue to support the ongoing health and wellness efforts for your school’s community!

Students at Hillman Junior & Senior High School celebrate as the Outdoor Playground Equipment they requested through their Fall 2022 PHS Wellness Grant arrives at their school.

PHS Attends Victor’s Day at the University of Michigan

PHS and BHC Logo

On Friday, October 27th, Project Healthy Schools collaborated with U-M Athletics to host an inclusive physical activity and health fair at Oosterbaan Fieldhouse at the University of Michigan for 600 students with disabilities who attended from surrounding schools. The PHS team taught students and their families how to create a healthy balanced plate by incorporating a variety of healthy foods from each of the five food groups (fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy). Students created their plates by using food cutouts and then separated each food into its respective food group category. Prizes were given out to students and their engagement was highly infectious! Please enjoy some photos from the event.

13 PHS Schools Awarded a Fall Wellness Grant

pickleball-photo

Please join us in congratulating the following schools who applied and received a Fall PHS Wellness Grant. Each of these schools were funded up to $1,000 to support their requested health and wellness initiatives designed specifically for their school community.

  • A.D. Johnston Junior/Senior High School – Pickleball Nets, Paddles, and Marking Kits
  • Negaunee Middle School – PE Equipment
  • Blesch Intermediate School – PE Equipment, First Aid Kits, Outdoor Sleds
  • Boyne City Middle School – Pickleball Nets, Paddles, and Balls
  • Aspen Ridge Middle School – Technology for Outdoor Recreation
  • Great Lakes Learning Academy – PE and Health in a Bag Virtual Learning
  • DeWitt Middle School – Blazepod Kits, Agility Hurdles
  • Munger Elementary-Middle School – Pickleball Sets
  • Almont Middle School – Corn Hole Boards and Bags, Healthy Food and Supplies for Smoothies/Tastings
  • Cherryland Middle School – Hydration Station
  • Hamady Middle School – Pickleball Nets, Paddles, Balls, and Marking Kits
  • Pierce Middle School – PE Equipment
  • Forest Park School – PE Equipment for Take Home Bag

We are thrilled to support these wellness initiatives and look forward to hearing great success as they are implemented during the school year. For those schools interested in applying for the next round, the Winter PHS Wellness Grant application will open on December 1st and close on January 31st. This grant opportunity is for PHS schools who have been with the program for at least two full academic years or longer (1st and 2nd year schools are not eligible). Congratulations again to our fall wellness grant recipients; we look forward to reviewing and approving more wellness grants in February!

8 New Middle Schools Join Building Healthy Communities

PHS and BHC Logo

The 2023-2024 school year brings 8 new schools to the Building Healthy Communities: Engaging Middle Schools through Project Healthy Schools program, a partnership between Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, the University of Michigan, and the United Dairy Industry of Michigan.

Please join us in welcoming the following schools to the BHC:PHS program this school year:

  • Alcona Middle School – Harrisville, MI
  • Tri County Middle School – Howard City, MI
  • Kensington Woods Area Schools – Lakeland, MI
  • Blissfield Middle School – Blissfield, MI
  • Huron Academy – Clinton Township, MI
  • Avondale Middle School – Rochester Hills, MI
  • Glen Levey Middle School – Southfield, MI
  • Collins Elementary School – Houghton Lake, MI

We look forward to working with the identified wellness champions, administrators, school wellness teams, and all students and staff to implement the BHC:PHS program this school year in these amazing schools located across the diverse geographic location of Michigan!

PHS and BHC Logo

Free School Meals for All Michigan Students

photo-of-healthy-school-lunch

Michigan’s 1.4 million public students will be receiving nutritious free meals at school during the 2023-2024 school year thanks to a $160 million appropriation in the state’s School Aid budget adopted by the state legislature and signed into law by Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Michigan School Meals will provide state reimbursement to schools for every breakfast and lunch served to Michigan’s public school students who receive meals through their school’s participation in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National School Lunch and School Breakfast Program.

For every district that chooses to participate, students in pre-kindergarten through grade 12 will receive one breakfast and one lunch per student, free of charge. The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) encourages all eligible districts to participate and is supporting districts with successful implementation. More information can be found at the Michigan School Meals website, and questions regarding the program can be directed to mde-schoolnutrition@michigan.gov. We hope your school will take advantage of this amazing resource to help support increased access to affordable healthy foods for your students!

PHS Offers New Vaping Education Curriculum

illustration-about-how-e-cigarettes-work

Project Healthy Schools is proud to announce the release of their vaping education lessons. The Project Healthy Schools Vaping Education Lessons contain two 30–40 minute lessons. In lesson one, students will distinguish between the different types of tobacco use with an emphasis on e-cigarettes. They will be able to understand what is inhaled through vapes, long– and short-term effects of vaping, the benefits of remaining tobacco- and nicotine-free, and practice refusal skills to be used in their everyday life as we encourage them to abstain from tobacco use to live a healthier lifestyle. In lesson two, students identify Federal and Michigan policies/laws surrounding tobacco and vape use and how they relate to purchasing, safety, and use. They will analyze marketing strategies used by tobacco companies and compare cigarette and vaping advertisements.


With this knowledge, students will create their own anti-vaping advertisement by using similar marketing tactics. Students will read case studies and assess the situation, choosing which refusal skill could be used and research local resources for tobacco cessation in their area. With these lessons, PHS hopes to provide students with the knowledge and skills to make healthy decisions and remain tobacco and nicotine-free. The vaping lessons are posted in the PHS Portal under the Lessons tab. We hope your school will take advantage of this new teaching resource!

A visual aid showcases how e-cigarettes work in the PHS vaping education lessons.