SILVER SPRING, Md., May 9, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF), a broad-based not-for-profit organization whose mission is to help reduce childhood obesity, and Discovery Education, the leading provider of digital content and professional development for K-12 classrooms, announced today the winners of the 2016 Healthy Playground Makeover Sweepstakes and Smart from the Start Awards, annually offered incentive programs from the Together Counts™ program. Designed to encourage students to live active and healthy lives, these programs aim to increase the impact of health and wellness programs both in and out of school, and will award more than $150,000 in prizes to deserving schools across the nation.
The following schools have been chosen as this year's grand prize winners:
Healthy Playground Makeover Sweepstakes:
Grand prize winners:
- Plains Elementary School of Rockingham County Public Schools in Timberville, Virginia
- Woodland Elementary School of Puyallup School District in Puyallup, Washington
Chosen from more than 530,000 entries nationwide, Plains Elementary School of Rockingham County Public Schools in Timberville, Va., and Woodland Elementary School of Puyallup School District in Puyallup, Wash., have been selected as the 2016 grand prize winners. Acknowledging the importance of supporting low-income schools, each year the sweepstakes selects a Title I school as one of the two grand prize winners for their commitment to educating students on the importance of living active, healthy lives. This year, the sweepstakes proudly recognizes two Title I schools as grand prize winners. Each school will receive $30,000 in cash and sporting goods, and a new Unity Dome Playground (valued at $15,500) from Playworld, a leading manufacturer of imaginative playground and fitness equipment.
In addition to the grand prize winners, the following schools have also been named the runners up of the sweepstakes and will each receive a $5,000 cash prize:
- Central Elementary School of Coweta School District in Coweta, Oklahoma
- Davis Elementary School of Reynolds School District 7 in Portland, Oregon
- St. Thomas More Catholic School in Chapel Hill, North Carolina
"Wow, winning this sweepstakes could not have happened at a better time for our students and community," said Joseph Kapuchuck, principal, Plains Elementary School. "We have just started the process of raising funds to replace our 1970's playground, and this prize will assist in our fundraising endeavor to modernize our playground. We cannot thank you enough!"
"Our playground has not been updated in nearly 25 years and finding funding has been an unreachable wish," said Kristi Giste, teacher, Woodland Elementary School. "This structure will provide exciting ways to be active at school and build momentum for daily exercise. Healthy and happy kids, that's what this win is all about."
Smart from the Start Awards:
Grand prize winner:
- Treadwell Elementary School of Shelby County Schools in Memphis, Tennessee
The Smart from the Start Awards encourage preschool teachers to design and implement wellness initiatives using the free Smart from the Start Pre-K curriculum in their classrooms. Applicants for the award submit action plans that improve nutrition and physical activity to jumpstart healthy habits at a young age. Smart from the Start is part of an ongoing commitment made to the Clinton Global Initiative in support of Pre-K wellness. This year, the Smart from the Start Awards grand prize winner is Treadwell Elementary School of Shelby County Schools in Memphis, Tenn. The school will receive a $20,000 grant.
In addition to the grand prize winners, the following schools have also been named the runners up of the sweepstakes and will each receive $2,500:
- Centro Hispano Guadalupe Head Start in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
- Citizens For Citizens Head Start in Fall River, Massachusetts
- Early Childhood Education at Maddox of Englewood Schools in Englewood, Colorado
- Fred Douglas Early Childhood Center of Sherman Independent School District in Sherman, Texas
- HALO Childcare Center in Racine, Wisconsin
- Kennedy Child Study Center in New York, New York
- Mission Discovery School in Monticello, Utah
- Queen of Angels Regional Catholic School in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania
- Upper East Tennessee Human Development Agency Head Start in Kingsport, Tennessee
- YMCA Head Start Cherry Creek in Columbus, Ohio
To improve health and wellness habits for their students, Treadwell Elementary partnered with Community Kitchen, a local nonprofit that provides Learning Gardens to schools across the country that teach children about healthy nutrition and empower them to make healthy choices. Additionally, the school will connect with their local 4-H Club to discuss how teachers and community members can work together to sustain a community garden. Treadwell Elementary School will use the Smart from the Start Awards grant to implement the 'Treadwell Snack Shak' for students to self-select healthy snacks during snack time, as well as create a play area for students.
"We at Treadwell Elementary School are overwhelmingly ecstatic about becoming the grand prize winners!" said Tanisha Heaston, principal, Treadwell Elementary School. "This award will help to fundamentally shape successive years of healthy living in the lives of our students. Most importantly we can now truly fulfill our goal of educating the holistic child one student at a time."
Established in 2010, the Together Counts program offers students, educators and families state-of-the-art curriculum and activities – at no cost – that help to build healthy environments and reduce childhood obesity. Results from the program's impact study show that students changed their behaviors after being exposed to the curriculum by adding one or more physical activities per week to their routine while also making healthier nutrition choices. Additionally, more than 90 percent of educators who implemented the curriculum in their classroom reported that their students had a better understanding of key wellness concepts after using the program tools.
"One of the most important things we can do to combat obesity is empower American school children to make healthy decisions that become healthy habits for life," said Becky Johnson, executive director of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation. "We are thrilled to support local schools with healthy lifestyles curriculum and financial resources that bring health and wellness to life in the classroom, in the cafeteria and on the playground."
"Discovery Education is proud to continue our partnership with the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation to reward schools nationwide through the Healthy Playground Makeover Sweepstakes and Smart from the Start Awards for their great efforts on improving students' health and wellness," said Lori McFarling, senior vice president, Discovery Education. "Grants and prizes offered by these programs will empower students and communities to live healthier lives both in and out of the classroom."
About the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation
The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF) is a broad-based not-for-profit organization whose mission is to help reduce obesity, especially childhood obesity, by encouraging positive and permanent lifestyle changes among school-aged children and their families. The Foundation develops and implements innovative and collaborative educational, marketplace and community solutions with its coalition of 300 corporate and not-for-profit partners. Through its free, award-winning Together Counts™ healthy lifestyle school curriculum, the Foundation has reached more than 34.5 million students. As the first commitment to First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move initiative and verified by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the HWCF's food and beverage company members gave consumers more lower calorie options by removing 6.4 trillion calories from their products– surpassing their pledge by more than 400% three years ahead of schedule.
About Discovery Education
Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-based digital content for K-12, transforming teaching and learning with award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia content, professional development, and the largest professional learning community of its kind. Serving 3 million educators and over 30 million students, Discovery Education's services are in half of U.S. classrooms, 50 percent of all primary schools in the UK, and more than 50 countries. Discovery Education partners with districts, states and like-minded organizations to captivate students, empower teachers, and transform classrooms with customized solutions that increase academic achievement. Discovery Education is powered by Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the number one nonfiction media company in the world. Explore the future of education at www.discoveryeducation.com.
Playworld believes The World Needs Play®. Play is vital to everyone's health and well-being. It's something you are never too young or too old to enjoy. We develop playground environments where creativity is king, belly laughs are welcome and children make the rules. Playworld's equipment and surfacing are designed to unleash the transformational power of play so bodies grow stronger, children play safely and imagination can take flight. For 45 years, Playworld has created innovative, inclusive and meaningful outdoor play experiences for all ages and abilities. Come play with us at www.Playworld.com.
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SOURCE Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation