Youth Service Organizations Supported with Grants

From our friends at GrantStation

Youth Service Organizations Supported
Youth Service America: Global Youth Service Day Lead Agency Program
Youth Service America (YSA) is a resource center that partners with organizations committed to increasing the quality and quantity of volunteer opportunities for young people to serve locally, nationally, and globally. YSA’s Global Youth Service Day Lead Agency Program offers organizations support to lead high-impact, high-visibility youth service activities and celebration events during Global Youth Service Day, April 17-19, 2015. Lead Agencies will receive a planning grant of $1,000 to $3,000 funded by State Farm, capacity-building training, and ongoing consultation. Typically, Lead Agencies are local, regional, or statewide nonprofit organizations with a focus on youth development and positive community engagement. Nonprofit organizations in the U.S. and the provinces of Alberta, Ontario, and New Brunswick in Canada are eligible to apply. The application deadline is July 31, 2014. Visit the YSA website to learn more about the program.

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Earn an LZX gift certificate by supporting women health workers in Kenya

We are asking you to look into your heart and help us support a program (HFAW) that will make a difference in the lives of so many women, children and men in Kenya. Please consider a donation to help train 30 women and men in poor, rural Kenya to be strong health and human rights promoters tin their communities.

To encourage you to support the effort, Learning ZoneXpress will offer a $15 gift certificate to the first 50 people who donate $10 and Tweet about the donation tagging @lxzpress. (The funding round ends June 29.)

This is what you need to do:

  1. Have a Twitter account
  2. Donate $10 (or more!) to the project here
  3. Once the transaction is complete, you can Tweet about your donation through the website. Be sure to add @lzxpress to the Tweet so that we see it
  4. We will then ask you to send us contact info and we will send you a $15 gift certificate

More about the Project

HFAW will train 30 rural poor women (and men) to be strong health and human rights promoters through a six month pilot training in transformative strategies based on popular education which has been highly effective in Chile (via EPES Foundation) changing the lives of poor women. HFAW focuses on reproductive health and human rights as critical step to break the epidemic discrimination against women. The methods empowers women to fight for change and includes a few supportive men to fight backlash.

The Learning ZoneXpress Connection

Promoting worldwide health and human rights – especially for women and children – is a passion for Learning ZoneXpress founder Melanie Nelson. Melanie has worked hard to help make that happen through her volunteer work with (and generous donations to) EPES – an acronym for Educacion Popular en Salud which can be translated into Popular Education for Health. It is a program that focuses on empowering shantytown women to make changes in domestic violence, tobacco control, breast cancer, HIV awareness, and more recently, nutrition education.

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Garden Heroes on a summer vacation Road Trip

IMG_20140616_130816_101The Garden Heroes are on a road trip. We hope you enjoy watching their voyages – maybe you can guess where they are going to go next. Or let us know if we’re in your town. We can always use some suggestions for fun, local places to visit. (Also we’re always up for a Farmer’s Market.) Follow us on Instagram to keep up:

Maya Mango – learn more about Maya 

Gracie Grapefuit - learn more about Gracie

Roja Raspberry - learn more about Roja

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Food trucks for food deserts

We love this idea happening in our home state, as reported by the line media

A recent city-ordinance change has paved the way for mobile grocery stores. Now the Wilder Foundation’s Twin Cities Mobile Market, a repurposed Metro Transit bus that cost the foundation just over $6,000, can distribute fresh produce on St. Paul’s East Side and the North Side of Minneapolis.

Both neighborhoods are considered “food deserts” because the corner shops and independent markets that provide residents with groceries lack fresh produce and other wholesome items.

It’s an affordable way to bring good food to deserving neighborhoods!

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Chipotle Edible Garden Opens at local Minnesota Zoo

We love the idea of Chipotle teaming up with our local zoo to provide an edible garden…

The Chipotle Edible Garden Opens June 13
Grab a complimentary tomato plant while supplies last,
then get inspired by what Como’s got growing
Friday, June 13 to Sunday, June 15 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m

Nothing tastes better than a tomato grown in your own backyard —-but tomatoes are only the start of the great array of edible veggies, vines, flowers and fruits that thrive in Minnesota’s growing season.

For the fourth season of the Chipotle Edible Garden exhibit, Como’s talented horticulture team is growing more than 130 edible plant species, from artichokes and Zestar apples, to pole beans and popcorn. Check out the full list on our website.  


To celebrate the grand-opening of this popular interpretive garden, our friends at Chipotle will be on hand Friday, June 13 starting at 10 a.m. to pass out tomato plants grown by Pahl Farms from Apple Valley —- the same farm that supplies some of Chipotle Mexican Grill’s green bell pepper and jalapenos (when in season). Opening weekend festivities also include an Edible Garden Scavenger hunt, a plant label crafting station, and interpretive programs full of planting tips and trade secrets to keep your own backyard garden in great shape.    


Mark your Calendars!  Chipotle will be back to Como on Monday, June 16  (10 a.m. -  noon , or while supplies last) with the ingredients and a demonstration to make your own guacamole.   

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Select BINGOS & GAMES – ONLY $15 each until June 10!

Fun for controlled activities in the classroom – Health Class themes Bingo games now available for $15

A helpful review of proper nutrition, using MyPlate. Playing BINGO is a great way for students to learn and review nutrition, as they select the appropriate term for the definition read.

A helpful review of nutrition terminology, using Bingo
Item # 510500
Regular Price: $24.95
On Sale For: $15.00
Food Safety Bingo

Set of 30 8 1/2″ x 11″ Laminated Bingo Cards
Item # 5109
Regular Price: $24.95
On Sale For: $15.00
Cooking Terms Bingo

Set of 30 8 1/2″ x 11″ Laminated Bingo Cards Pl…
Item # 5104
Regular Price: $24.95
On Sale For: $15.00
Kitchen Safety Bingo

30 – 8 1/2″ x 11″ Laminated Cards Appropriate f…
Item # 5120
Regular Price: $24.95
On Sale For: $15.00
Germ Wars Game (Grades 6 - Adult)

Review safety and sanitation topics: • Basic T…
Item # 5014
Regular Price: $29.95
On Sale For: $15.00
Clothing Construction BINGO

Set of 30 8 1/2″ x 11″ Laminated Bingo Cards Pl…
Item # 5015
Regular Price: $24.95
On Sale For: $15.00
Kitchen Utensil Bingo

Set of 30 8 1/2″ x 11″ Laminated Bingo Cards Pl…
Item # 5016
Regular Price: $24.95
On Sale For: $15.00
Consumer BINGO

Set of 30 8 1/2″ x 11″ Laminated Bingo Cards Pl…
Item # 5023
Regular Price: $24.95
On Sale For: $15.00
Interior Design Bingo

Set of 30 8 1/2″ x 11″ Laminated Bingo Cards Pl…
Item # 5100
Regular Price: $24.95
On Sale For: $15.00
Kitchen Abbreviations Bingo

Set of 30 • 8 1/2″ x 11″ Laminated Bingo Cards …
Item # 5019
Regular Price: $24.95
On Sale For: $15.00
Sports & Foods & Fitness, Too Game (Grades 6-12)

Topics on sports and fitness include: • Eat To …
Item # 5004
Regular Price: $29.95
On Sale For: $15.00
Go Green Bingo

Learn practical and creative ways to reduce, re…
Item # 5121
Regular Price: $24.95
On Sale For: $15.00
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Celebrate STEM with free stickers

STEM connectionsAre you teaching any STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) classes or incorporating STEM lessons into your other classes? We have colorful, free stickers to celebrate STEM. They are fun for your students. They also help them and others make the connection between classwork and STEM.

Just download the PDF and print it out as 5160 Avery Stem-sticker-5160avery-template labels. Be proud – celebrate STEM connections!!

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Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Kicks off the 2014 “Feds Feed Families” Nationwide Food Drive

Great idea – worth sharing in the education and private sector!

WASHINGTON, June 2, 2014 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today kicked off the 6th annual Feds Feed Families Campaign at the USDA Headquarters in Washington D.C. The food drive is an annual event in which Federal employees in the Washington metropolitan area and around the country collect food for distribution by food banks, food pantries, and shelters.

“The spirit of service runs deep across the Federal government. Feds Feed Families offers another opportunity to give back to our communities and serve our neighbors in need,” said Vilsack. “Since the initiative began just five years ago, Federal employees have donated more than 24 million pounds of food. I am proud to serve alongside such generous individuals and I am confident that we will step up once again this year.”

Secretary Vilsack was joined for the announcement by U.S. Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton, Nancy E. Roman, CEO of the Capital Area Food Bank and other officials from the Department of Defense and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Feds Feed Families program started in 2009 and has been managed on an annual basis by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. This year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is once again leading the effort in collaboration with managers from agencies across the government. The 2014 food drive officially began on June 2 and will run through August 27.

All Federal agencies across the country participate in the campaign and Federal employees are asked to donate non-perishable food items throughout the summer. As in prior years, donations made in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area go to food banks in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia through a partnership with the Capital Area Food Bank. Other donations go to food banks across the country – having a positive impact to help food banks address food insecurity. Secretary Vilsack noted that the latest USDA estimates show that in 2012, food insecurity affected 14.5 percent of American households at some point.

USDA has designated Karen Comfort of its Agricultural Marketing Service as the Feds Feeds Families National Program Manager. Comfort will manage the campaign with the support of the Chief Human Capital Officers Council and other agency partners. Those interested in additional information on the Feds Feed Families campaign can email Questions can also be directed by phone to (202) 690-0187.

The Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB), founded in 1980, is a member of Feeding America and takes a comprehensive approach to addressing hunger by increasing access to nutritious food, initiating change through skill-building and creating sustainability with outreach and training for those at risk of hunger. The CAFB is the metro area’s largest public, nonprofit food and nutrition education resource. For more information about hunger and nutrition issues, log on to

For more information on the Feds Feed Families campaign, please visit:

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Grants for K-12 Math and Science Programs Funded

Tell your colleagues…

K-12 Math and Science Programs Funded
Toshiba America Foundation
The Toshiba America Foundation is dedicated to promoting quality science and mathematics education in U.S. K-12 schools. The Foundation provides grants through the following two initiatives: The Grants Program for K-5 Science and Math Education provides grants of up to $1,000 to teachers in public or private schools to help them bring innovative hands-on projects into their classrooms. The application deadline is October 1, annually. The Grants Program for 6-12 Science and Math Education provides small grants of up to $5,000 and large grants of over $5,000 to teachers who are passionate about making science and mathematics more engaging for their students. Applications for small grants may be submitted throughout the year. The annual application deadlines for large grants are February 1 and August 1. Visit the Foundation’s website for details about each of the grant programs.

Thanks to GrantStation for the heads up!

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Results of the Healthy-Hunger Free Kids Act

We’re pleased to share the following from the USDA…

FACT SHEET: Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act School Meals Implementation

Congress passed the Hunger-Free Kids Act in 2010 with bipartisan support to help ensure every American child had access to the nutrition they need to grow into healthy adults. One goal of the law was to help reduce America’s childhood obesity epidemic and reduce health risks for America’s children by helping schools across the country produce balanced meals so children had access to healthy foods during the school day. USDA based the new school meal standards on independent, expert recommendations from the Institute of Medicine to ensure kids are being fed healthy food while they are at school.

Results of the Healthy-Hunger Free Kids Act school meals provision to date include:

  • Kids are eating more fruits and vegetables as a result of updated standards. A recent Harvard study has concluded that, under the updated standards, kids are now eating 16 percent more vegetables and 23 percent more fruit at lunch.
  • Over 90 percent of schools report that they are successfully meeting the updated nutrition standards. Students across the country are experiencing a healthier school environment with more nutritious options. The new meals are providing children more whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean protein and low-fat dairy, as well as less sugar, fat, and sodium.
  • School lunch revenue is up. Despite concerns raised about the impact of new standards on participation and costs, a USDA analysis suggests that in the first year of implementing updated meal patterns, schools saw a net nationwide increase in revenue from school lunches of approximately $200 million. This includes the annual reimbursement rate adjustments, as well as increased revenue from paid meals and the additional 6 cents per meal for schools meeting the new meal standards.
  • Healthy food standards have not increased food waste. While reducing plate waste at schools, homes and workplaces continues to be a priority for USDA, a recent study by the Harvard School of Public Health showed that new school meal standards did not result in increased food waste.
  • Participation is increasing substantially in many areas of the country. USDA has received reports from many schools indicating a positive response to healthier offerings and increased participation. Examples include Los Angeles, Dallas, and some of Florida’s largest school districts. In fact, Los Angeles Unified-one of the nation’s largest school districts-has seen a 14% increase in participation under the new meal standards. As more kids and schools continue to successfully make the transition to the new standards, USDA expects participation to keep climbing.
  • HHFKA has led to participation increases within many schools. The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) under the HHFKA has been successfully implemented in almost 4,000 schools in early adopting States. More than 600 school districts across 11 States have at least one school participating in CEP. The evaluation results demonstrate that participating schools were able to increase participation in their meals programs, and as well as experience revenue gains and decreased administrative costs.
  • Virtually all schools continue to participate. Data from states indicated very few schools (only 0.15% of schools nationwide) reported dropping out of the programs due to struggles over providing kids healthy food. State agencies reported that the schools no longer participating in the NSLP were mainly residential child care institutions and smaller schools with very low percentages of children eligible for free and reduced price meals.
  • USDA has and will continue to listen to stakeholders and provide guidance and flexibilities, as appropriate, to help schools and students adapt to the updated requirements. Early in the implementation process for school meals, when schools asked for flexibility to serve larger servings of grains and proteins within the overall calorie caps, USDA responded. In January of this year, that flexibility was made permanent. USDA is also phasing other requirements in over the next several years. And hearing schools concerns on the lack of availability of whole grain pasta, USDA is allowing schools that have demonstrated difficulty in obtaining adequate whole grain pasta to use traditional pastas for an additional two years while industry works to create better whole grain pasta products.
  • USDA is helping schools encourage kids to choose new healthier options. Most recently, the Department announced $5.5 million in new grants to support Smarter Lunchrooms, a broad toolkit of easy-to-implement, low-cost, evidence-based strategies that increase consumption of healthier foods and decrease plate waste.
  • USDA is supporting numerous training sessions in conjunction with our partners to help schools implement the updated meal standards and prepare for Smart Snacks. USDA has completed seven sessions with various audiences since the rule was published, and additional training is planned for the rest of the year. The Department has made in-person trainings at 16 school professional organization meetings and have tree more scheduled this spring and summer.
  • USDA is supporting implementation of the updated school meals standards and new Smart Snacks standards through a variety of additional methods. Recent actions include: In February, USDA announced the availability of up to $5 million through the Farm to School grant program to increase the amount of healthy, local food in schools. In FY13, USDA awarded grants to 71 projects spanning 42 states and the District of Columbia. USDA awarded $5.6 million in grants in FY2013 to provide training and technical assistance for child nutrition foodservice professionals and support stronger school nutrition education programs, and plans to award additional grants in FY 2014. In April, USDA awarded $25 million in grants to help schools purchase kitchen equipment that will help them provide healthier school meals. USDA is partnering with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation to provide an online product calculator for Smart Snacks. The newest version of the calculator was released on April 7 and included a beverage module. This product calculator will assist all stakeholders in easily identifying food and beverage products that meet the new standards.
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