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iBerkshires.com Columnist Section

Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

$5K REACH Grant Targets Kids And Dairy

12:00AM / Tuesday, October 31, 2006

North Adams- The Get Fit program of the REACH Community
Health Foundation was awarded one of three 2006-07 New England Dairy and Food Council grants that target school-age children.
The grant award was $5,000.

America's low calcium intake is recognized as a major health concern. The "3-A-Day of Dairy" education grant is given to organizations that designed an innovative, school-based nutrition education program aimed at empowering kids to become advocates for healthy eating, including three servings of dairy a day.

Fifth grade students at elementary schools in Northern Berkshire County will participate. The "3-A-Day-Marathon Challenge" has already begun at Abbott Elementary School in Florida and at Williamstown Elementary School. Students are challenged to consume three servings of dairy a day and run or walk 26.2 miles over the course of the program. They record their progress in a
logbook.

Student mentors from Williams College and Mt. Greylock Regional High School will assist with the program. The Marathon Challenge evolved from a program introduced by Williams College senior Alan Rodrigues at Williamstown Elementary School. MGRHS Senior Ali Nowland is assisting as part of her required Senior Project.

"The students really seem to be responding to the dairy challenge," said Program Co-director Liz Grees. "We have introduced them to yogurt smoothies and will be incorporating a new dairy product each week."

The program is six weeks long. At the close of the program, a
3-A-Day-themed family event will be planned and put on by the students with support from REACH staff and their college mentors.

New England Dairy & Food Council is a non-profit nutrition education
organization serving Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. They are staffed by registered dietitians. Their goal is to ensure that health professionals, scientists, media and educators have credible nutrition knowledge upon which to educate or base health recommendations.

The Get Fit Program of the REACH Community Health Foundation seeks to reduce the rates of obesity by facilitating programs to promote nutrition and fitness in the schools and pre-schools; develop sustainable projects that promote wellness through improved nutrition and fitness by collaborating with schools and other community organizations; encourage and empower informal leadership, including peer educators, and initiate key environmental
changes throughout the Northern Berkshires that make being healthier easier.

The REACH Community Health Foundation is a nonprofit subsidiary of
Northern Berkshire Healthcare and is dedicated to improving the health of the Northern Berkshire community.

REACH offers community programs in breast cancer, caregiver support, tobacco cessation, dental health, children's health, and men's health.

For more information on Get Fit Programs or the REACH Community
Health Foundation, please call Liz Grees at 413-664-5284. For more
information on the New England Dairy & Food Council, call 413-734-6750.
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