As part of a multi-pronged partnership between UHC and GENYOUth, we have embarked on a series of projects to help improve nutrition, physical activity, and overall health at at-risk schools across the nation. Read about three recent events in Salt Lake City, UT Pittsburgh, PA and Richfield, MN.
With the support of UHC, we hope to continuously mentor and encourage students to create and lead health and wellness initiatives within their school communities. Additionally, the partnership will help students nurture lifestyle skills that will allow them to become into strong leaders in school, in the workforce, and in life.
How It’s Being Done: Super School Breakfast Cart Initiative
One of the major culminations of GENYOUth’s partnership is the “Super School Breakfast Grant Initiative.” The initiative awards 10 schools across Minnesota grants of $10,000 each--for a total of $100,000--to purchase a Breakfast Grab-n-Go Cart. This project is an extension of the Super School Breakfast Initiative that GENYOUth and Midwest Dairy undertook earlier this year working with the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee, providing 52 schools with $10,000 leading up to Super Bowl 52.
The objective of the Grab-n-Go Breakfast cart is to reduce the number of skipped breakfasts by providing students with easy access to a nutritious meal. The students have the choice to either grab breakfast from the cart at the start of the school day, or they can get a “Second Chance” to grab breakfast in-between their class periods. Through this cart, we hope to give students an easier way to incorporate breakfast into their daily routine.
The kickoff of this initiative took place on October 29th, 2018 with the very first cart being provided at Richfield High School in Minnesota; UnitedHealthcare, Midwest Dairy, and GENYOUth were all there to help commemorate the special day. As Richfield Public Schools’ Chief Human Resources and Administrative Officer Craig Holje states, “there are so many great things that happen when great minds and organizations come together,” and we couldn’t agree more--we are continuously grateful to our partnership with UnitedHealthcare and their support throughout this entire initiative. In the upcoming months, UnitedHealthcare plans to provide 9 more carts to schools across the state in hopes of reducing skipped meals and increasing nutrition within schools.
How It’s Being Done: AdVenture Capital Innovation Challenge
Another major way that UnitedHealthcare has fueled student-led change is through the support of GENYOUth’s AdVenture Capital entrepreneurship program, which you can learn more about here. This Shark-Tank style entrepreneurship event invites students to come up with innovative solutions to food insecurity and nutrition issues within the school. So far, UnitedHealthcare has hosted two AdCap Innovation Challenges--one in Salt Lake City and one in Pittsburgh--with three more taking place in the upcoming year.
At AdCap Salt Lake City, which took place on October 9th, 2018 with the help of Dairy West, we saw the ideas of 58 students from 11 different schools. Like present other GENYOUth AdCap event, students worked with mentors to help develop their ideas, and then pitched their ideas to a panel of judges for a chance to win $1000 to implement their efforts in school. Students got to work alongside UHC and OPTUM volunteer mentors as well as mentors and judges from Dairy West. While all students were commended for their hard work, ambition, and creativity, ultimately, only 10 winners were chosen. One of the winning ideas include, “Stand Up West,” from West High School, which proposes the installation of standing desks around school to promote physical activity. Another winning idea, “Salem Chakra” from Salem Hills, proposes starting a yoga and meditation program at school to help reduce stress and anxiety. These are just a couple of the great ideas we can’t wait to see implemented in Salt Lake City.
Likewise, in Pittsburgh, UHC offered 10 winning student teams grants of $1000 to bring their projects to life. Alongside the help of UHC and American Dairy Association Northeast, 60 students from 13 schools developed their best ideas and pitched them to a panel of judges. We were also lucky enough to have some dairy farmers, judges from the Distributive Education Club of America (DECA), the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh, and SAP help out at the event. Some of the winning ideas included: Deer Lakes High School's “Waste Efficient Fresh Lunch Program,” which implements a survey system that allows students to pre-select lunch as a way to reduce food waste, as well as The Manchester Craftsman Guild’s “Fooduo Global,” which proposes an after-school club where students can learn health tips and recipes from other cultures.
More to Come!
These events are just a couple of the ways that GENYOUth’s partnership with UHC has already begun to spur positive change within schools--but we’re not nearly done. AdCap and the Super School Breakfast Initiative will extend into 2019, with more innovative ideas and grants coming. We’re super grateful and excited about this partnership and we can’t wait to continue building healthy communities with the help of United Healthcare.