Two City Connects Schools Commended for Promoting Student Health

“Healthy Connections” awards were presented to two City Connects schools, the John F. Kennedy and the Josiah Quincy elementary schools,  at the Boston Public Schools (BPS) 5th annual Wellness Summit on May 30. Seven awards were given to schools with innovative approaches to promoting student health and wellness.

“The schools we recognize today have shown innovative, collaborative, and service-oriented approaches to delivering Coordinated School Health to BPS students and families,” said BPS Superintendent Dr. Carol R. Johnson.

The JFK Elementary school’s health and wellness efforts included a range of activities: a Girls on the Run running club partnership with Hill House, Playworks recess activities, yoga instruction, a Winter Walking Club, dance and movement classes with the Boston Arts Project and the Hyde Square Task Force, nutrition lessons from the Martha Eliot Health Center, and a Step It Up walking challenge with Partners HealthCare. Beyond student activities, parents and caregivers were invited to attend weekly meditation and stress management classes and staff participated in Zumba.

In addition to winning a Healthy Connections award, the Quincy Elementary was given one of 10 national “Praiseworthy Pioneer” grants from the Active Schools Acceleration Project (ASAP). ASAP is an initiative of ChildObesity180, an organization at Tufts University committed to facilitating cross-sector collaboration to reverse the trend of childhood obesity within one generation’s time. ASAP seeks to increase quality physical activity in schools to promote healthy, active living and to evoke the beneficial behavioral and academic outcomes that follow. The $2,500 Praiseworthy Pioneer grants were given to support physical activity programming in schools.

“We are honored to be recognized. The award  will help support the Quincy’s Jammin’ Minutes, Playworks, GoKidsGo, and Sports and Scholars physical activity programs,” said Pauline Yee, a physical education teacher at the Quincy.

In City Connects, health is one the four domains of student strengths and needs that we examine, because healthy students are better able to learn and thrive in school. Congratulations to the JFK and the Quincy schools on these awards!

For more information:

Shoes That Fit & Nordstrom Donate New Balance Sneakers to Josiah Quincy School Students

One hundred children at the Josiah Quincy Elementary School in Boston’s Chinatown neighborhood received new footwear thanks to a donation from Shoes That Fit, a nonprofit organization teamed up with Nordstrom. With the financial support of the Nordstrom Giving Tree program, 100 pairs of New Balance sneakers have been distributed to children in need.

Raghida Jeranian, a City Connects School Site Coordinator at the Quincy school, worked with the Red Oak Afterschool Program at the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center to coordinate the donation and delivery of the shoes. Red Oak offers academic support and extracurricular opportunities in afterschool and summer programs and provided the shoes to its predominantly low-income student population as a result of its strong partnership with City Connects.

“We always encourage students to be physically active, and these new shoes will be a big step forward in promoting exercise,” Jeranian said. “Having a donation of 100 pair of new sneakers that fit properly is a huge benefit to these students.”

A Josiah Quincy School student displays her new pair of shoes.

Shoes That Fit was created in 1992 after its founder had a conversation with a school nurse about a student who was crying on the playground. The nurse examined his feet and found them to be stuffed into shoes three sizes too small; the boy’s family couldn’t afford new shoes in his size, and he was in pain. Thus began Shoes That Fit, which provides shoes for about 100,000 children each year and will soon be marking 1 million pairs of shoes donated at more than 1,900 schools in 40 states.

Shoes That Fit works by connecting a sponsoring organization with a school; in this case, the Quincy school was chosen in a lottery.

“We can be wherever people want to help. We match up schools that have children in need with sponsors in their community who want to help—any group of people or type of business,” said Shoes That Fit Program Manager Lee Kane. “Sponsors determine how many shoes they can offer, the school identifies and measures children with materials we provide, and then members of the sponsoring group purchase and deliver the shoes. It’s a very hands-on, grassroots approach. They really enjoy the process and we’d love to help more schools in Boston.”

The Nordstrom Holiday Giving Tree program runs through December 24. One hundred seventeen Nordstrom stores across the country are displaying holiday trees with tags that customers can purchase for $20, which represent a child who will receive a new pair of New Balance athletic shoes. Thanks to the Nordstrom Holiday Giving Tree Program, a minimum of 11,550 pairs of shoes will be distributed this year to children in need!

For more information:

  • Shoes that Fit is always looking for sponsors–to find out more, please contact Lee Kane
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