The sun beamed on the Mayor of Inglewood James T. Butts, Councilman Alex Padilla and Highland Elementary School students as the community gathered for the presentation of a $10,000 ‘Hometown Grant” to the Inglewood Unified School District. The grant, provided by the Los Angeles Rams and California dairy families, will go towards health and wellness initiatives through the Fuel Up to Play 60 (FUTP 60) program.
“This is all about rewarding a school that is doing tremendous things,” said Jennifer Giambroni, director of Communications for the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB).
The special school assembly at Highland allowed students the opportunity to learn first-hand about healthy food, the five food groups, and the importance of getting in 60 minutes of physical activity a day, from local dairy families and Rams offensive tackle Cornelius Lucas.
“The most rewarding part of this experience is getting to touch the hearts and minds of the youth,” said Lucas. “This is my first time really getting into the community and I’m happy to be out here.”
Lucas and other Rams personnel guided students through football drills, providing them with a taste of the type of equipment that the grant money will allow schools in the district to purchase. Students in the Inglewood Unified School District will join millions of other students who are eating healthier and being more active throughout the United States through the national FUTP 60 program.
Highland Elementary School principal, Dr. Annette Beasley, says that the grant money will be used towards the implementation of wellness programs that involve the greater Inglewood community.
“It’s important to show our families and parents too because sometimes they didn’t have that training growing up,” said Dr. Beasley. To demonstrate her commitment to the cause, Dr. Beasley plans to host a Highland Elementary School night of physical activity. Her vision is that parents, students and the Inglewood Community will learn how to cook healthy food options as a reinforcement to what is being taught in school; a healthy lifestyle that translates both at home and at school.
“I have three children and I want to ensure that I instill a healthy lifestyle in them,” Dr. Beasley said proudly. “It’s not just about the learning in the classroom it’s also about being healthy mentally and physically.
Studies have shown that kids who eat well and exercise perform at a higher level, attend school more often and behave better in the classroom which fits into the Highland Elementary School positive behavior in school (PBIS) model.
“Kids start developing those habits when they are very young,” added Giambroni. “If we can get them to start thinking about how they feel when they eat well and how they feel when they get out and run around, we feel like we’re starting them with a good foundation.”
The Rams are one of 32 NFL teams that are partnering with FUTP 60 and local dairy representatives to provide ‘Hometown Grants’ throughout similar communities to the city of Inglewood.
“It’s an organizational priority for the Rams, for our players to understand that the Rams are more than just the game of football,” said Rams Vice President of Community Affairs and Engagement, Molly Higgins. “They’re about going out in the community and showing love to this community and using our platform to help kids understand the importance of health and wellness.”
Like professional athletes, nutrition, health and wellness are instrumental to people’s lives and successes. With this grant, students have an opportunity to uphold the PBIS model in and out of the classroom with the hope that this will perpetuate a new way of thinking passed down for generations.