VENTURA, Calif. — Students for Eco-Education and Agriculture (SEEAG) was selected to receive a $55,000 grant from St. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital (SJPVH) and St. John’s Regional Medical Center (SJRMC), members of Dignity Health.
According to a UCLA study, about 35 percent of children are considered overweight or obese in Ventura County, with higher rates in poorer neighborhoods.
The grant funds will go towards expanding SEEAG’s “Ventura County Child Wellness Initiative” with a focus on the Oxnard, Rio and Hueneme Elementary school districts. The program educates and inspires children to eat healthy by adding locally grown Ventura County specialty crops to their diet. SEEAG brings its mobile classroom van to schools where SEEAG instructors provide hands-on nutrition education to third graders. Over 2,800 students will take part in the program during the 2020 calendar year.
Each participating student receives a Wellness Swag Bag containing educational materials, produce samples, recipes and a dental hygiene kit. The grant will enable SEEAG to add a bilingual educator to the program, create five farmers market pop-ups within the targeted school districts that will provide free produce and nutritional information for families and include a jump rope in each of the Wellness Swag Bags. Dignity Health has also donated an RV to SEEAG to facilitate the program. Health events at St. John’s Regional Medical Center will provide additional bilingual education to families.
“Many farmworkers’ children are enrolled in the targeted school districts. They are an important population to reach with our message,” says Mary Maranville, CEO/founder of SEEAG. “SEEAG is grateful for Dignity Health’s support of the Child Wellness Initiative, The grant is recognition that our efforts to educate children about eating healthy if very much needed in Ventura County.”
“By funding this local organization that has a shared mission to help provide critical health services to our communities, we are able to collaboratively improve the health and well-being of the vulnerable and underserved,” said Darren Lee, President and CEO of St. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital and St. John’s Regional Medical Center. “We are motivated by the impact this grant will have on the lives of our community members.”
Other organizations teaming up with SEEAG to make the Ventura County Child Wellness Initiative successful are Reiter Affiliated Companies’ Sambrando Salud Program, Clinicas del Camino Real and Ventura County Public Health.
–Students for Eco-Education and Agriculture
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