As 2022 comes to a close, we cannot help but reflect on all that we have accomplished with each and every one of our schools, community partners, donors, colleagues, and friends. Project Healthy Schools is celebrating its 18th year creating healthy school environments across the state of Michigan. We would not be here without each and everyone of you! Thank you for your amazing efforts and support in helping our students, staff, and school communities work towards a healthier version of themselves. Please take the coming weeks as a time to reflect, rest, nourish, and perform self-care. We look forward to seeing you all in January 2023 as we continue our mission together. Happy Holidays from PHS!
PHS is currently hosting a Healthy Bingo Contest! This fun and engaging contest is being held during October and November. All PHS schools who have been with the program for at least one full academic year or longer are eligible to participate (1st year schools are not eligible). The bingo card has 25 spaces that each include a healthy action you can take to improve the health culture of your school. How many spaces can you achieve? The more bingos you get, the more times your school will be entered into the contest to win a $500 prize that will support health and wellness at your school. Two schools will win! All bingo cards are due by Wednesday, November 30th. Please reach out to your PHS wellness coordinator if you have any questions or did not receive your electronic bingo cards. Good luck and have fun!
In celebration of National Farm to School Month, the PHS team took a field trip to visit the University of Michigan Campus Farm on Wednesday, October 12th. The campus farm at Matthaei Botanical Gardens is a student-driven multi-stakeholder living learning lab for sustainable food systems work built around principles of food grown by students for students, on-farm carbon-neutrality, diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice, in a learning community that fosters student leadership development and high-impact teaching, research, and learning opportunities. The farm offers many intern positions, and they are hoping to create educational programs in the future for local schools to visit the farm in person.
The campus farm utilizes solar hoop houses, heated only by the sun, to produce locally grown crops, such as spinach and kale, for MDining, Maize and Blue Cupboard, and on-campus farmers market year-round. The farm’s produce truly goes full circle, representing this unique concept of being grown by students for students, showcasing their true farm to table model. Now that’s what we call eating local!
MDining, located at the University of Michigan, is comprised of twelve on-campus cafes, seven markets, seven residential dining halls, a line of Blue to Go foods, and Michigan Catering unit. MDining prides itself on emphasizing creative, healthy, and nutritious foods, international cuisines, and sustainability throughout all dining operations. The Maize and Blue Cupboard, also located at the University of Michigan, works to ensure all members of the university community (students, faculty, and staff), whether on a tight budget or physically restrained from getting to a grocery store, receive equitable access to healthy, nutritious, and nourishing food and the ability to prepare it for themselves and others. The cupboard provides food, such as produce, dairy, meat, bread, frozen and shelf-stable foods, kitchen and cooking items, such as dishes, silverware, pots and pans, Tupperware, cutting boards, knives, and personal and household items, such as trash bags, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, hygiene products, school supplies, baby items, as well as connects patrons to other campus and community resources.
The PHS team had a wonderful campus farm experience and gained further knowledge of the amazing resources and partnerships taking place within our own university community. We left feeling inspired! How will your school celebrate National Farm to School Month? We encourage you to post photos on your school’s social media, and to tag @projecthealthyschools, so we can share your story with others!
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.
Pierce Middle School –Youth Roller Skates
Hillman Junior & Senior High School – Playground Trio Musical Equipment
Newberry Middle School – Smoothie Supplies; PHS Lesson Supplies
Blesch Intermediate School – PE Equipment
Rudyard Elementary School – Staff Wellness Treadmill
Cherryland Middle School – Wilderness Survival Supplies; Snow Fort Building; Pickleball; Dodgeball
Almont Middle School – Pickleball; Volleyball; Fruits & Vegetables for Smoothies & Tastings
Aspen Ridge Middle School – Garden & Hydroponic Supplies; Bike Supplies
Boyne City Middle School – Hydroponic Garden Supplies; Smoothie Blenders; PHS Lesson Supplies
We are thrilled to support these wellness initiatives and look forward to hearing great success as these PHS wellness grants are implemented during the current 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!
In partnership with MCORRP, PHS is excited to share our collaboration on an NIH-funded research study with the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB). This study, titled “Investigating the Impact of COVID-19 on School Meals: A Mixed-Methods Phenomenology of Rural, Suburban, and Urban Nutrition Directors” will give the teams of University of Michigan and UTMB an opportunity to learn about the experience that Michigan school food service directors had with providing meals to students both before, during, and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are still actively recruiting participants to share their experience with us! If you are a school food service director or know of one who would be willing to participate, we would love to hear from you. If you or your district’s food service director would like to participate, you will be asked to complete a demographic form and have an interview with a member of our research team. There will be one or two 30-60-minute interviews where we will ask questions about your perceptions, thoughts, memories, and emotions about your experience as a nutrition director.
Participants will be offered an electronic gift card worth $25.00 for participation and completion of the demographic forms and interview. No compensation will be offered to participants who do not complete the entire study. If participants are asked to do a second interview, they will be offered another $25.00 an electronic gift card.
If you would like to learn more about the study, please contact PHS Program Manager, Melissa Boguslawski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are interested in signing up and scheduling an interview, please follow the link below and a member of our research team will reach out to schedule your interview:
Learn more about MCORRP: https://www.med.umich.edu/mcorrp/
Learn more about the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston: https://www.utmb.edu/
Project Healthy Schools participated in the University of Michigan’s Giving Blueday on March 16th. We surpassed our goal of 35 donors and had a total of 50 donors graciously donate to our program. Thank you so much to everyone who helped to spread the word about our program with your friends, family, and colleagues. Your generosity will help keep the mission of PHS moving forward as we work to support the health and well-being of middle schools and their surrounding communities throughout Michigan. If you missed Giving Blueday 2022 and would like to support our program, you can donate here.
PHS will be unveiling a new PHS Portal for our participating schools and wellness champions in Fall 2022. This new platform will be very user-friendly, and we are currently conducting focus groups to gather feedback from current wellness champions. Get ready for a completely new and improved PHS Portal this fall!
Blue CPHS has recently expanded our social media presence. We have joined the world of TikTok (pause for applause)! Please connect with us by searching for Project Healthy Schools on this new engaging platform where we will take you behind the scenes into the world of school health and wellness. If you haven’t already, please also connect and check in with us on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts as well. We can’t wait to share our health resources and success stories with you and your surrounding community. See you there!
In our last newsletter, we empowered you to spring into action by increasing your daily physical activity as our temperatures slowly improved. Now that summer is on the horizon, how can we further take advantage of the amazing Michigan summer weather and utilize the great outdoors to enhance our physical and mental health well-being? Surround yourself with nature and try something new, such as forest bathing! Forest bathing began in Japan back in 1982 and has since grown in popularity around the world. Here is a fun video that showcases a forest bathing experience in Honolulu, Hawaii. The great state of Michigan has so many amazing hiking trails and forests to explore. Why not become your own guide and immerse yourself in the great outdoors? For added safety, explore with a friend, stay on well-groomed trails, and avoid ticks. Enjoy your summer and reap the benefits of nature!
During the 2021-2022 school year, Project Healthy Schools awarded 22 wellness grants to eligible returning schools who applied during the fall and winter grant cycles. Schools were awarded up to $800 for each grant cycle to support health and wellness initiatives that would enhance the school wellness culture at their school for their students and staff. Blesch Intermediate School in Menominee, MI is located in the Upper Peninsula and has been a proud BHC:PHS school since 2019. Blesch loves to engage their students outside as much as they can. They created wellness initiatives where students came together and built snow forts outside using buckets purchased with their PHS wellness grant. They also used sleds purchased with their PHS wellness grant to keep their students physically active outside during the long Michigan winter. PHS wellness champion Wendy Rauch says, “One of the biggest impacts is that the PHS wellness grant has given our students the opportunity to experience activities that they otherwise would not have been able to experience. The wellness initiatives have made it possible to bring our student body together and participate in healthy activities in the classroom and outside. PHS has taught our students valuable health lessons that will be carried on throughout their lives. Our students are making better lifestyle choices. They are more engaged in positive recess activities and there are less behavior issues on the playground due to students concentrating and focusing on fitness activities.” Great job Blesch Intermediate School on your amazing ingenuity of keeping your students active and healthy amid a cold Michigan winter!