Grants Promote Access to Oral Healthcare

Dental Trade Alliance Foundationdental
The Dental Trade Alliance Foundation is dedicated to supporting promising initiatives that achieve measurable impact and facilitate real change in oral healthcare. The Foundation is offering grants of up to $25,000 for innovative, sustainable, scalable projects designed to increase access to oral healthcare for those in need. Funded projects should not only improve access to oral care in their immediate area, but also have the potential to grow and be implemented in other areas of the country. Applications are accepted from dental organizations, dental schools, universities, government organizations, and nonprofit organizations for programs located in the United States and its territories. (The Foundation is also offering one Foundation/Dental Lifeline Network Grant of up to $25,000 for a project specifically related to providing access to dentistry for individuals with disabilities, or those who are elderly or medically compromised.) The application deadline is May 25, 2016. Visit the Foundation’s website to download the application guidelines and forms.

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Elk River and Sauk Rapids-Rice High Schools Repeat Top Honors at Minnesota’s 2016 ProStart Invitational

Teams from Elk River and Sauk Rapids-Rice high schools repeated first place honors in the culinary competition and management competition respectively at the 10th annual Minnesota ProStart Invitational, sponsored by the Hospitality Minnesota Education Foundation and Sysco Minnesota. The event, held March 10 at Sysco Minnesota in Mounds View, showcased the cooking talents and business skills of high school students enrolled in the ProStart program at their schools. Both teams now advance to the National ProStart Invitational, which will be held in Texas on April 29-May 1.

Culinary Competition
Each of the competing culinary teams had one hour to prepare a three-course meal using two butane burners. They were judged on teamwork, sanitation, menu presentation and taste, as well as knife skills. Nine teams entered the culinary competition from across the state.

Elk River Culinary Team

Elk River Culinary Team

The first-place team from Elk River High School prepared “Ahi Tuna Carpaccio” as the starter, “Pan Roasted Wild Acres Duck Breast” for the entrée and “Toasted Coconut Caramelized Filo” for dessert. Team members include Avalon Donat, Kailey Johnson, Dan Loram, Mark Swan and alternate Lizzie Holby. They are coached by instructor Monique Sabby.

Placing second in the culinary competition was the team from Park Center High School, consisting of students Jessica Camerena, Hawa Doucoure, Brody Snyder, Lue Yang and alternate Dgene Kaba. Instructor Katherine Hutchinson serves as their coach. A team from Sauk Rapids-Rice High School placed third, including team members Hanna Meyer, Julianna O’Mara, Abby Schiller and Shae Waseka. Sauk Rapids-Rice is coached by Mary Levinski.

Individuals receiving honors for knife skills during the culinary competition were Alyssa Savage from North Branch (first place) and Kailey Johnson from Elk River (second place). Each received a set of high quality knives, courtesy of Mercer Culinary.

Other high schools in the Culinary Competition included: Hopkins, two teams from Integrated Arts Academy in Chaska, North Branch, North Education Center Academy in New Hope (competing for the first time) and a second team from Sauk Rapids-Rice.

Management Competition
Teams in the management competition developed a proposal for an original restaurant concept based on guidelines specified by ProStart. Students shared written and oral presentations with judges about their concept’s menu, décor, price structure, marketing plan and other considerations. A second set of judges evaluated teams’ critical thinking.

Sauk Rapids-Rice Management Team

Sauk Rapids-Rice Management Team

The first-place management team from Sauk Rapids-Rice High School developed a concept for “Pasta Sano,” a fast casual restaurant where customers build their own health pasta bowls. Team members include Marianna Blair, Kelsey Christenson, Hanna Meyer and Paige Vogt. They are coached by Mary Levinski.

The management team from Elk River took second place for their concept, “The Three,” which features meals from three different areas of the world: Italy, Spain and Asia. Team members include: Serenity Lage, Mary Stoutenburg, Meghan Stoutenburg and Trevor Taylor. The team is coached by Monique Sabby.

Six post-secondary culinary/hospitality schools offered scholarships to members of the top placing teams, with awards varying from $500 to $5,000 per year. The schools included The Culinary Institute of America, The International Culinary Schools at the Art Institutes, Johnson & Wales University, Louisiana Culinary Institute, New England Culinary Institute and Southwest Minnesota State University.

Culinary Competition Judges

Culinary Competition Judges

Serving as judges for the two competitions were more than 30 highly respected chefs, restaurateurs and culinary instructors. Please visit to view the full list of judges.

ProStart is a two-year educational program supported by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation in partnership with state restaurant associations. The career-building program blends classroom learning with mentored work experience to teach high school students the management and culinary skills needed for a career in the restaurant and foodservice industry. Thirty-six Minnesota schools currently offer the ProStart curriculum to their students. For more information on the ProStart program, visit

About the Hospitality Minnesota Education Foundation
The Hospitality Minnesota Education Foundation (HMEF) is a nonprofit 501© (3) charitable education foundation whose mission is to educate and develop future employees and leaders for the hospitality industry HMEF was founded in 2006 by the Minnesota Restaurant Association, Minnesota Lodging Association and the Minnesota Resort & Campground Association to:

  • Implement a high school curriculum to train future employees and leaders of the foodservice and lodging industry.
  • Initiate a strong and sustainable scholarship program for students pursuing post-secondary education toward careers in restaurant or lodging management.
  • Highlight the excellent career opportunities within the hospitality industry and demonstrate the essential role foodservice and lodging plays in Minnesota’s economy.

The foundation’s work is made possible through the generous support of Hospitality Leaders Fund donors: Cargill Foods, Carlson Family Foundation, Parasole Restaurant Holdings, Sysco Minnesota and US Foods.

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You’ll go “craisy” for these bars!

A couple weeks ago we announced the winner of the Soar with School Breakfast Recipe Challenge and this week we decided to try out the recipe for ourselves. The winning recipe, Craisy Pumpkin Breakfast Bars was submitted by LiveWell@School Food Initiative in Colorado. We gathered all the ingredients and made them for breakfast. The team here at Learning ZoneXpress loved them!! They were all gone and all that was left was crumbs on a plate. 2016-03-21 15.51.29

To make some for yourself or for your school, download the Craisy Pumpkin Breakfast Bars recipe here.

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Hop on Over to a Healthy Easter Sunday

It’s hard to believe that Easter is only four days away and today in Southern Minnesota we are expecting a snow storm. But that’s your typical Minnesota Spring! One day it’s 65 degrees and sunny and the next day there’s a blizzard. Well, fear not Minnesotans, you can still partake like the rest of the country and enjoy Easter! This year, why not try and add more healthy choices to your meal? Adding more vegetable side dishes, like Simple Roasted Baby Carrots or Roasted Brussels Sprouts, is sure to make your meal more colorful, as well as provide healthier options to choose from.

After you’ve filled yourself full of wonderful, healthy food, get outside as a family and get some exercise. There are many things you can do as a family. Here are a couple fun examples:

  • Go on a walk.
  • Make a game of your Easter egg hunt by making it a treasure hunt, and in order to get the next clue, you have to do something active, like 10 push-ups or 15 jumping jacks.
  • How about a bean bag race, but call it a bunny race and “hop” your way to healthiness?

There are so many fun activities to do as a family, you just need to get creative. If you need more inspiration, take a look at our “Let’s Make Spring & Summer Healthy Newsletter Handout” and try the Salad Bowl Sprint. This newsletter tip sheet for educators and parents, offers ideas to encourage more physical activity, a seasonal produce guide, riddles, tasty snack recipes and more.

If you are looking for more healthy snacks for kids, order the “Kid Approved Healthy Snacks Cookbook” and get your kids involved by having them help prepare the recipes. There are over 30 recipes to choose from including:

  • Grape Pops
  • Berry Blast Smoothie
  • Crunchy Fruit Kabobs
  • Mediterranean Salad Skewers and more!

The recipes are easy to follow and feature beautiful food photography to help guide you in preparing the recipes. One more fun thing to do as a family this Easter.630200_3

From Roasted Carrots to Mediterranean Salad Skewers and walking to hopping, there are many healthy things to enjoy as a family this Easter. Just remember, if you are a Minnesotan, and wake up Easter morning to snow on the ground, remind yourself how much exercise you’ll be getting trudging through the thick, wet snow, when you go outside to find the eggs that the Easter bunny left for you to find.

We, at Learning ZoneXpress, want to wish everyone a Healthy and Happy Easter!!

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Interactive Game Programs Educating Youth Funded

From our friends at GrantStation…

my-digital-life-dvdInteractive Game Programs Educating Youth Funded
Entertainment Software Association (ESA) Foundation
The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) Foundation is dedicated to supporting positive programs and opportunities that make a difference in the lives of today’s youth. The Foundation seeks to harness the collective power of the interactive entertainment industry to create positive social impact. Grants of up to $50,000 are provided to nonprofit organizations for programs that serve youth ages seven to 18. Funded programs and services should utilize technology or computer and video games to educate America’s youth and young adults. Programs must be available nationwide, or reach at least two or more states. The application deadline is May 2, 2016. Visit the Foundation’s website to submit an online grant application.

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