School Wellness resources

 

Students spend nearly eight hours a day at school – so what they eat, learn and do there has a big impact on their future choices. Eating well and moving more helps reduce a child’s risk of being overweight and obese and enhances their academic performance and social success.

Partners for Healthy Schools:

Partners for Healthy Schools (PHS) is a part of Live Well Omaha Kid’s community work and brings together service professionals quarterly to share resources, data, and opportunities around school wellness. Programs and resources from this group are reflected in our printable Youth Wellness Resource Guide, which we encourage everyone to download and share.

School Resource Toolkits:

Making your school a healthier place doesn’t have to start from the ground up. The following resources were developed to support schools in promoting healthful eating and physical activity into their building environment. Check out the video gallery of school spotlights that highlight each topic, then download our helpful toolkits to get you started:

School Wellness Councils
A group of committed champions is the first step

Staff Wellness
Teachers and staff influence habits as healthy role models for students

Physical Activity
Move more in the classroom, during recess, and PE

Community Partnerships
There are lots of advocates willing to help!

Healthy kids need a well-balanced school day of healthy breakfast and lunch options, recess and physical education. From 2013-2017 PHS provided technical assistance and professional development for school staff around wellness. Hear from school staff reflecting on the value of participating in PHS:

“Partners for Healthy Schools is really good about saying ‘here’s what some other schools are doing’ and being a champion for our success. Their role is critical in making sure we’re moving ahead with this. It’s a great partnership.”

– school principal

“It’s become part of our culture. That’s huge as we move forward. Partners for Healthy Schools has been a perfect connection for us to the resources we need.”

– school principal

“Reflecting on our school year, our biggest highlight was putting together a functioning district wellness committee!”  

– food service director

In 2018, PHS evolved to focus on district-wide policy, systems, and environmental change. PHS’s advocacy focus areas are: school wellness policy, safe routes to school, and joint use agreements.

To learn more about Live Well Omaha Kids’ Partners for Healthy Schools work, please contact us at info@livewellomaha.org.

Youth Wellness Resource Guide:

Download a printable PDF version

5-4-3-2-1-Go!® (Go Nebraska Kids)

5-4-3-2-1 Go!® is a healthy countdown message encouraging kids to get: 5 servings of fruits and vegetables,
4 servings of water, 3 servings of low-fat dairy, 2 hours or less of screen time and 1 or more hours of physical activity every day! Go Nebraska Kids is teaming up with local schools and youth organizations to provide resources for teachers and staff to use, in promoting the daily, healthy kids countdown! Visit GoNebraskaKids.org to learn more and find free helpful resources.

5-4-3-2-1 Go!® message was created by the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC). 5-4-3-2-1 Go!® is a registered trademark and Copyright © 2004 Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. All rights reserved.www.clocc.net

Contact Leslie Turner at 402.415-7585 or gonebraskakids@gmail.com for more information.

Healthy Families (CHI Health)

Healthy Families is a free, family-based intervention program for families with one or more children and/or teens who have been diagnosed as overweight or obese and are ready to make a healthy change. Healthy Families is a fun class that engages the whole family in physical activity, nutrition, and behavioral health skills that help the family set and achieve healthy lifestyle goals. Healthy Families is offered throughout the metro area in North Omaha, South Omaha, Council Bluffs, and West Omaha.

Contract Audrey Matthews at 402.343.4691 or audrey.matthews@alegent.org for more information.

Nutrition Education Program (University of Nebraska Lincoln Extension)

The Nutrition Education Program (NEP) offers a variety of programs and resources for schools and is free to schools where 50% or more of the students receive free or reduced-price meals.

Nutrition School Enrichment Kits:
Kits available for teachers to check out for 4 weeks. Each kit has 5 lessons with materials to teach health, math, science, and reading as it relates to nutrition.

After-School & Summer-School Programs: 
A series of food and nutrition classes taught by nutrition educators at after-school and summer-school programs. Classes include hands-on activities, games, and cooking experiences.

Contact Carrie Miller, MS, RD at 402.444.7804 or clsmiller@unl.edu for more information.

Brain Blasters (University of Nebraska at Omaha)

Brain Blasters is a free online resource that provides teachers with research and resources regarding incorporating movement into classrooms. Whether you’re looking for short physical activity breaks to help improve students’ focus or to incorporate purposeful movement within your curriculum to enhance student learning, Brain Blasters is a one-stop shop for learning about classroom physical activity. Visit the link above for access to a variety of resources including example videos, PDF newsletters, and infographics highlighting the latest classroom physical activity research. 

Contact Kailey Snyder at 402.554.4843 or Kesnyder@unomaha.edu for more information.

Fuel Up to Play 60 (Midwest Dairy Council)

Fuel up to Play 60 is a student-led nutrition and physical activity initiative launched by National Dairy Council (NDC) and National Football League (NFL), and in Nebraska, provided by Midwest Dairy Council. Enrolled schools engage by implementing nutrition and physical activity initiatives to enhance the wellness environment of their school. Funding is available for all schools, K-12, public and private. Your school can enroll by visiting FuelUptoPlay60.com

Contact Caryn Kusleika, RD, LMNT at 402.991.8633 or ckusleika@midwestdairy.com for more information.

GoNoodle Inc. 

GoNoodle Inc. is provided to Omaha area school districts by Children’s Hospital & Medical Center. GoNoodle provides teachers with 5-minute brain-breaks related to deep breathing, stretching, and physical activity. Training and technical support are offered to all schools interested in implementing GoNoodle.

Contact Sitaara Jones at 708.691.8813 or sitaara.jones@gonoodle.com for more information.

Get Checked Omaha (Women’s Fund of Omaha)

The Women’s Fund of Omaha seeks to create sustainable community-wide changes through a research-based, results-focused, comprehensive approach that will increase the sexual knowledge of youth and, thereby, decrease the number of youth engaging in risky sexual behavior and the rates of STDs and teen pregnancy. Get Checked Omaha is a program of the Women’s Fund of Omaha, in partnership with The Sherwood Foundation, Douglas County Health Department, Nebraska Methodist Health System, UNMC College of Public Health, United Way of the Midlands, Building Healthy Futures, and Girls, Inc. Learn more at GetCheckedOmaha.com, or call/text 1-844-690-CHKD (2453).

Visit their new, interactive site at BirdsBeesandSTDs.com for age-appropriate resources for parents to discuss safer sex with their tweens and teens in a way that’s relatable to them.

Contact for medically-accurate, comprehensive sex education technical assistance (lesson plans, resources, sexual health messaging) and sexual health training requests.

Contact Brenda Council at 402.827.9280 or bcouncil@omahawomensfund.org for more information.

Cooking Matters (Visiting Nurse Association)

Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters program empowers low-income families with the skills to stretch their food budgets so their children get healthy meals at home, as part of the No Kid Hungry Campaign. Cooking Matters serves families through hands-on, six-week cooking courses and interactive grocery store tours lead by professional chefs and nutritionists. Participants learn to shop smarter, use nutrition information to make healthier choices, and cook delicious, affordable meals. Curriculums are available for adults, families, kids, and teens.

Contact David Kinney at 402.930.4073 or dkinney@thevnacares.org for more information.

School Gardens

Plants aren’t the only things that grow in school gardens. So do people when they work and learn in community gardens. These outdoor communal spaces are living classrooms that provide “hands-on” education. The Douglas County School Garden Toolkit provides the knowledge to set up a safe and sustainable school garden.

Download the Toolkit: http://douglascounty-ne.gov/gardens/images/stories/schoolgardens/SchoolGardenToolkit2012.pdf

Whole Kids Foundation (Whole Foods Market Omaha)

Whole Kids Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) founded by Whole Foods Market and guided by the same values, principles, expertise, and standards for quality ingredients, food production methods, and nutrition. We support schools and inspire families to improve children’s nutrition and wellness. Given the right opportunities, kids will get excited about fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and other nutritious whole foods. 

Contact Cassandra Zywiec at 402-393-1200, ext. 123 or Cassandra.Zywiec@wholefoods.com for more information.

Farm to School (Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition)

Do children really know where their food comes from? They will after working with the Farm to School (F2S) Program.  F2S helps local farmers and school food service staff, in collaboration with the Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition, bring fresh produce to school cafeterias. The kids learn, the farmers earn, and everyone eats better!

Download the Farm to School Toolkit: http://toolkit.centerfornutrition.org

City Sprouts Community Garden

City Sprouts Community Garden, located at 4002 Seward Street in the Orchard Hill neighborhood of North Omaha, is home to a 45 raised garden beds, a wide array of fruit and nut trees, and 10 happy chickens. With a diverse portfolio of programming, both at our community garden and with our portable classroom activities, we seek to provide skills and awareness around gardening, food traditions, health, and nutrition. We invite classrooms of all ages to visit our garden to explore what’s growing in the city. Grow with us! 

Contact Ali Clark at 262.751.7462 or gardenmanager@omahasprouts.org or Roxanne Williams at 402.216.9616 or director@omahasprouts.org for more information.

Truck Farm Omaha (City Sprouts)

Truck Farm Omaha is dedicated to educating youth about sustainable and urban agriculture, healthy eating and the benefits of growing one’s own food. TFO educates young people about where food comes from and the benefits of eating locally. We engage urban youth in growing their own fresh food while providing a fun and environmentally friendly, safe-space for youth to interact with the food system. TFO promotes healthy lifestyles by encouraging better eating and exercise habits. 

Contact Maranda Allbritten at learn@omahasprouts.org for more information.

The Big Garden

The Big Garden, founded in 2005, is an Omaha-based network of over 100 gardens. The Big Garden partners with schools, churches, and nonprofits to start fruit and vegetable gardens. The program provides start-up funding, hands-on programming services, seasonal workshops, educational resources, and ongoing support and technical assistance. Any school or organization is eligible to apply, and applications are accepted throughout the fall and winter.

Contact Matt Freeman at 402.898.9862 or mfreeman@biggarden.org for more information.

Whispering Roots

The goal of Whispering Roots is to provide fresh, locally grown, healthy food and nutritional education for schools and socially and economically disadvantaged communities by using Aquaponics, Hydroponics, and Urban Farming. Our re-circulating Aquaponic systems grow healthy, great tasting fish and pesticide-free produce. In addition, our cutting-edge school programs teach the principles of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (S.T.E.M.) by using “Hands On” experiential learning.

Contact Greg Fripp at 402.321.7228 or gfripp@whisperingeringroots.org for more information.

No More Empty Pots

No More Empty Pots (NMEP) is a grassroots non-profit corporation. It began for the purpose of connecting individuals and groups to promote local, sustainable, businesses that improve self-sufficiency and regional food security through advocacy and action.  To help support this effort, No More Empty Pots collaborates with a coalition of public and private organizations, businesses, communities, individuals, and entrepreneurs. No More Empty Pots offers Youth and Family Cooking Demonstrations

Contact Nera Wolf at nwolf@nmepomaha.org for more information.

Action for Healthy Kids

Action for Healthy Kids (AFHK) was created in 2002 as a response to then-Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher’s public call to action to work with schools to fight the national epidemic of childhood obesity. AFHK is the go-to place for how-to guides, fact sheets, and quick tips that will help schools create a healthy environment. Whether you’re helping to write a new school nutrition policy or activate classroom energizers, you can find best practice tools from partners, volunteers, and experts.

For more information or to sign up to receive updates, please visit Actionforhealthykids.org.

Healthier US School Challenge

This is a U.S. Department of Agriculture program, administered locally by the Department of Education. It evolved out of the growing health concern around obesity in our children. The USDA believes schools can take a leadership role in helping students learn to make healthier eating and active lifestyle choices. Schools can apply for various levels (bronze, silver, gold, or gold award of distinction) and, if criteria are met, will receive recognition and monetary rewards.

Contact Zainab Rida Ph.D., RD, LMNT at 402.471.4620 or zainab.rida@nebraska.gov for more information.

Coordinated School Health (Nebraska Department of Education)

The Coordinated School Health (CSH) initiative began with the passage of Nebraska Department of Education’s CSH Policy in 2010. CSH is a systems-building process by which schools, school districts, and communities develop capacity and create an infrastructure to support continuous improvement in health-promoting environments for students, staff, and communities. The CHS structure outlines eight components that must be addressed to assure students’ holistic health. The process integrates the efforts and resources of education and the community to provide a coordinated, comprehensive, multifaceted approach that enhances policy and environmental supports along with the capacity of the school to ensure its academic mission. Workshops and trainings are provided to assist schools and communities in the implementation of CSH.

Contact Julane Hill at 402.471.4352 or julane.hill@nebraska.gov for more information.

Safe Kids Douglas County (Children’s Hospital & Medical Center)

Safe Kids Douglas County is a collaboration of community organizations whose goal is to keep kids safe from preventable injuries, the #1 killer of children in the United States. Safe Kids Douglas County is supported by Children’s Hospital & Medical Center’s Injury Prevention Program.

The Car Passenger Safety Task Force conducts car seat checkup events and provides education on car passenger safety.

The Water Safety Task Force provides drowning prevention education to children and parents in the community.

The Pedestrian/Bike Safety Task Force conducts bike helmet fittings and provides free bike helmets to children. They also provide education about pedestrian and bike safety.

The Home Safety Task Force provides education on home safety issues such as poisoning, burns, falls, fires and choking.

Contact Travis Hedlund, MPH at 402.955.6815 or thedlund@childrensomaha.org for more information.

Omaha Youth Mindfulness Project

Yoga and mindfulness programs, when added to a school curriculum, can dramatically change a school culture by aiding in whole child development, increasing students’ concentration and focus, lowering stress for students and teachers, and reducing violence through stronger impulse control. The instructor, Kwin Kunkle M.Ed., RYT200, RCYT, studied with Mindful Schools and has 8 years of experience in teaching. For more information about how a yoga and/or mindfulness practice can benefit your school or organization, please contact Kwin.

Contact Kwin Kunkle at 402.516.4641 or Kwin.Kunkle@gmail.com for more information.

Wisdom House Collaborative

Could your school benefit from practices that alleviate teacher burn out? How about instruction that improves student attentional control and emotional regulation? Do you want to learn more about the benefits that just two 15-minute classes a week of mindfulness training could provide? Wisdom House is a new non-profit developing, coordinating, and providing resources for quality mindfulness programming. We provide free pilot classroom instruction utilizing Mindful Schools curriculum (as resources allow). We assist with developing programming options and community awareness. Most importantly, in anticipation of the great need for a growing  cadre of passionate and experienced instructors to be a public resource, we facilitate training and practice opportunities for educators.

Contact Aaron Weiner at 402.290.0406 or aweiner@akclaw.com for more information.