Funds for Teen Technology Programs in Company Communities

My Digital Life DVD

My Digital Life DVD

From our friends at GrantStation

Funds for Teen Technology Programs in Company Communities
Best Buy Community Grants Program
The Best Buy Community Grants Program provides support to community-based organizations that are located within 50 miles of a Best Buy facility. Grants promote programs that create hands-on learning opportunities for underserved teens to engage them in learning, experimenting, and interacting with the latest technologies to build 21st century skills. Eligible programs must build technology skills utilizing cutting-edge technology such as computers, digital cameras, video cameras, and professional software; deliver community-based youth programs for teens, ages 13-18, during out of school time; and serve a diverse population. Grants typically range from $4,000 to $6,000, and will not exceed $10,000. Public and nonprofit community-based organizations (e.g., community centers, schools, and libraries) are eligible to apply. Online proposals may be submitted between June 1 and June 29, 2015. Visit the Best Buy website to review the program guidelines.


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Next Week is Food Allergy Week May 10-16

Happy Food Allergy Action Month! We just wanted to send a heads up on Food Allergy Awareness Week, which is happening next week from May 10-16. You can learn more from the grandfathers of food allergy awareness


In 1998, the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, now FARE, created Food Allergy Awareness Week to educate the public about food allergies, a potentially life-threatening medical condition. This year’s awareness week falls on May 10-16, 2015, but we will have activities and ways to get involved throughout the entire month of May for Food Allergy Action Month. This is a special opportunity to shine a spotlight on food allergies and anaphylaxis. There are many easy ways you can get involved in raising awareness, educating others and inspiring action.


Learning ZoneXpress has a number of nutrition educational materials to help you help others understand allergies:


food allergy brochureFood Allergies Tri-Fold Brochures

What you know about food allergies could potentially save a life from a severe reaction. The Food Allergies Tri-Fold Brochure includes an overview of important food allergy information including the eight most common food allergens, symptoms, treatment, and more.

The tri-fold brochures are an easy-to-read nutrition education resource for the doctor’s office, healthcare clinic, classroom, or workplace.

Price: $16.95


food allergiesFood Allergies DVD

What is the difference between a food allergy and a food sensitivity? Why do some schools have peanut-free zones? What is Celiac disease? Are some people sensitive to food dyes? Join in on a discussion of food issues with an allergy expert as well as real people who live with food sensitivities and life-threatening food allergies every day. Learn the steps you can take whether you have an allergy, work with food, or know someone with an allergy. A little knowledge can prevent some big problems.

Closed Captioned

Price: $49.95

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Vast Majority of Schools Now Meet the Updated Meals Standards

Great news from the USDA…

Statement from Secretary Vilsack on New Data Showing the Vast Majority of Schools Now Meet the Updated Meals Standards

WASHINGTON, May 6, 2015 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack released the following statement today after USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service issued new data showing that 95 percent of schools are successfully meeting the updated meal standards made possible by the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010:

“Updated healthy school meal standards were created based on the expert advice of pediatricians and nutrition experts and are being widely embraced by students, parents, educators, and nutrition professionals. We are very encouraged that 95 percent of schools are now successfully providing more nutritious meals to their students. We are working with schools to provide funding, training, and flexibility so that 100 percent of schools will be able to successfully serve children healthier meals. Now that we are so close to the finish line, it would be unwise to roll back healthy meal standards just as they are beginning to work to ensure our kids have access to the balanced, nutritious food doctors recommend.”

Thanks to updated nutrition standards, the vast majority of young people are welcomed each school day to an environment that supports their health and wellbeing as well as their minds. Students are growing more accustomed to the updated standards and are eating healthier. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found widespread acceptance of the healthier meals by students, while studies by the University of Connecticut and Harvard found that more students are choosing to add fruit to their lunch tray, are consuming more fruit and vegetables and that plate waste in schools has not increased.

As expected, the majority of American parents are also embracing healthier meals in school. Researchers found that 72 percent of parents favor national standards for meals, and 80 percent support healthier snacks. Just this week, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported that most parents in Kansas support healthier school lunches, and 95 percent felt nutritious meals were so important in helping students learn that public schools should be required to serve a fruit or vegetable with each meal. As one food service director from Kansas to the Journal, “We’re teaching children to lead a healthy life.” Almost 99 percent of schools in Kansas are meeting the new meal standards.

Numerous prestigious medical groups have voiced their support for the healthier meal standards, including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Heart Association. Retired Generals and Admirals from the group Mission: Readiness also support the healthier meals, viewing it as a national security issue because nearly one-third of Americans between the ages of 17 and 24 are too overweight to serve.

USDA is committed to ensuring that the remaining 5 percent of schools get the tools they need to support the health of their students. In March, Secretary Vilsack announced the expansion of USDA’s Team up for School Nutrition Success initiative, which provides tailored technical assistance and peer-to-peer mentoring to schools needing assistance. This month, we will host our third regional training session, providing these schools with the opportunity to learn from each other, in order to make positive strides toward creating health school environments, with financial stability and strong student participation.

Many food companies that supply snacks and other foods to schools have been able to use the stability of the nutrition standards to reformulate their products, resulting in healthier products available to schools. We are working alongside industry partners and members of the nutrition community to develop resources for those schools having difficulty with sodium and whole grain requirements.

USDA will continue to listen to stakeholders and provide guidance and assistance as needed to help schools continue their progress, because it is in the best interest of parents, the food industry, and most importantly, America’s children.

meal-or-no-meal-school-lunch-training-gameFor schools that are still working on it – or schools that could use a refresher, Learning ZoneXpress has a fun game to get you on board…

Meal or No Meal School Lunch Training Game

Review the new National School Lunch Program guidelines while identifying qualifying reimbursable meals under Offer vs. Serve with this fun PowerPoint game. The game challenges foodservice workers to identify trays that meet the guidelines through photos of different food combinations. Perfect for training sessions.

The Meal or No Meal School Lunch Training Game has been reviewed and recommended by Minnesota foodservice directors.

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School Nutrition Employee Week – Stories of School Lunch Heroes

We recently held a School Nutrition Employee Week Giveaway asking individuals to share stories of someone or a group of nutrition professionals making a difference in schools.  We received so many incredible stories, we want to share them with you throughout this month. These individuals go above and beyond each day to supply nutrition foods to our youth and encourage healthy habits. They are proud of their work and so are we! Thank you to all of you for playing such an important role in children’s lives.

“The cafeteria manager for Freedom Middle School enthusiastically prepares breakfast and lunch meals for the children, staff and a guest. Teachers from other buildings often request a salad from her site due to the eye appeal and taste of the daily lunch offerings. Franklin Special School District began Breakfast in the Classroom at Freedom Middle four years ago. The participation has doubled since the program began.  Hats off to a manager willing to step up to the plate and knock it out of the park.”

-Marilyn Ryan, Franklin Special School District, Franklin, TN

“We have the most wonderful School Nutrition Team at Caledonia Public Schools. This year we have added so many new offerings to help students make the best healthy choices each day. Our Staff has been so accommodating and willing to work with these changes. We added breakfast at the door at our Middle/High School, 2nd Chance Breakfast at the Elementary and Middle Schools. We have rearranged our ala carte and now offer time after school for purchases before sports or other activities at the end of the day. Lynette, the ala carte cook now makes “Lighter Side Lunches” for our elementary staff.
I could not do what I do without our wonderful team, Lunch Ladies Rock!!  Middle/High team-Bonnie, Lynette, Eileen, Nancy, Wilma. Elementary team-Laura, Marion, Ruth Ann, Erna and myself.
Thank you for this opportunity to share our story…we would look really good in those aprons.”

-Rita McCormick, Caledonia Public Schools, Caledonia, MN

“Susie, Debbie and Heather are 3 cooks who work in our PK-2 building. These ladies make every single day a fun day in the cafeteria for the 450 students who are in that building. Depending on the season, they totally transform the cafe by decorating for each season, wearing costumes, playing music and singing songs to all the kids as they come through the lunch line. (I need to add that they use their own money to do most of this.) When we are serving Mexican food, these ladies may be dressed up in colorful outfits, playing wonderful songs that are sung in Spanish, and entertaining (and educating) the kids at the same time. Same goes for Asian cuisine day. It’s always interesting to see what they are going to do and the kids really appreciate and enjoy all of the Lunch Ladies’ antics! Parents are continually calling to thank us for making lunch fun for their kids and for getting them to try different kinds of foods. The students at this particular building cannot wait for lunch!”

-Mary Jennie, Lakewood Local Schools, Hebron, OH

“I would like to tell you about our great staff member  Linda Ammons. Linda goes above and beyond to help everyone in the kitchen. She is very nice and friendly to everyone and the children just love her. She is always smiling. She has perfect attendance. That says a lot when a person shows up everyday. She loves her job and it shows.”

-Wendy Bonner, Jones Co, Gray, GA

Stay tuned for more school nutrition employee stories. We will be sharing them all month long!

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Older Americans Month 2015: “Get into the Act”

Each May, the Administration for Community Living celebrates Older Americans Month to recognize older Americans for their contributions to the nation. The theme of this year’s celebration is “Get into the Act,” to focus on how older adults are taking charge of their health, getting engaged in their communities, and making a positive impact in the lives of others.

As generations grow older, their nutrition needs also change. Learning ZoneXpress has developed a variety of easy-to-read resources with older adults in mind. Topics covered include sodium, hydration, food safety, and MyPlate. Our MyPlate for Older Adults items feature a unique icon that provides food, fluid, and physical activity guidance that correspond with USDA’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines for aging populations.

Older Americans Month provides an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of healthy aging by promoting and engaging in activity, wellness and healthy nutrition. Now is the time to “Get into the Act!”

Visit Learning ZoneXpress to see all of our Older Adults nutrition resources.


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