A Great Story

AIHTI members recently submitted their “Greatest Stories” from the 1st Quarter. Below, member Jennifer Walters tells her story, while also shedding light on her current project with IU Health Community Health:

I have had a great experience serving as the School Garden Coordinator at IU Health Community Health. During my service, with the help of numerous community partners, we will be creating school gardens at Arlington Heights Elementary, Clear Creek Elementary, and Edgewood Intermediate schools. The school gardens address behavioral and environmental factors related to childhood obesity by increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables, providing nutrition education, and providing an additional opportunity for students to be physically active during the school day through participation in hands-on gardening tasks. Upon starting my service at IU Health, my site supervisor and I have formed partnerships within the community to help make the school garden project a reality. As a result, we have created the “Monroe County School Garden Collaborative” which consists of thirteen community partners who have an interest in increasing youth gardening in schools as an approach to improving the health of children in Monroe County. In addition, we have written five grants, seeking funding to purchase garden supplies for the program. To date, we have been awarded three of these grants, and now have $1,700 per school to put towards the garden program. We purchased three large, two-compartment composters, spent several days assembling them,  and delivered them to each of the schools. In January, I will begin delivering composting/nutrition education to students during lunch, and kids will have the opportunity to compost their lunch scraps one day per week. After months of planning, I am excited to start implementing the program with kids!

Congratulations, Jennifer, and to all AIHTI members on your successes in your programs thus far. Let’s keep the momentum rolling all the way through 2012!

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