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Novo Nordisk Enables a Climate of Wellness in a Trenton Middle School

May 3, 2015 | Community News, Trenton

Happy sporty children in gymThis spring, the Joyce Kilmer Middle School, is implementing A Comprehensive Approach to School Wellness. The approach will include environmental changes, such as the creation of a wellness room (complete with equipment), a cafeteria salad bar, expansion of the student garden, nutrition education for every student and physical fitness programming.

The initiative is made possible through a generous grant from Novo Nordisk, a global healthcare company with more than 90 years of innovation and leadership in diabetes care.

Novo Nordisk, in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, saw significant opportunities to bring wellness initiatives to Trenton to target obesity. “The data from our community health improvement plan spoke volumes about the need for a wellness turnaround in the community,” said Marissa Davis, New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids-Trenton (NJPHK-T) project manager. “Novo Nordisk was looking for innovative, encompassing environmental changes, programming and education. They were seeking to partner and collaborate with an organization that had capacity to implement a program with measureable objectives and a timeline.”

Several partners are teaming up to make this pilot program a success. ARAMARK will stock the salad bar and nutritious snacks in the wellness room. The YMCA of Trenton will offer fitness programming for students and staff so they can model healthy behaviors. SNAP-Ed from Rutgers Cooperative Extension will offer six-week nutrition lessons to all students. Isles will extend the garden, which will include raised beds and eventually a greenhouse, enabling students to grow their own fruits and vegetables.

When the Trenton Board of Education developed its District Wellness Policy, they included evaluation of each school’s culture of health as a cornerstone of the policy. The evaluation will enable the district to assess what schools are doing right and where more help is needed. The learnings from Kilmer’s experience will then be applied to four other Trenton middle schools.

“It’s a comprehensive way to infuse the school with health and embody the Culture of Health,” said Davis. “The Joyce Kilmer project coming on the heels of the District Wellness Policy will go a long way to creating buzz in the District.”

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