Radford City Schools receive 3-year grant for healthier students

The Radford City public school system has received a three-year grant from the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth to support Project GROW.

The goal of GROW is to create a sustainable health culture in the Radford community through hunger mitigation and food security efforts, an expanded physical environment that fosters fitness, and nutrition education for children and their families.

“Our school community is completely invested in making a positive difference in the lives of our students. The dedication and commitment we have from all of our partnerships helps make this school division so special. This grant will continue to help support our vision of “Excellence in Education . . . Every Student, Every Day,” said school superintendent Rob Graham. “We look forward to working with all team members affiliated with Project GROW.

The grant provides $90,000 to implement a Healthy Community Action Team (HCAT), which includes the Radford City Public Schools, faculty from the departments of psychology and counselor education at Radford University, the Bobcat Backpack program, a Beans and Rice program, parent representative, and the City of Radford.

Radford University faculty members Drs. Sarah Hastings and Nadine Hartig, both joined the Radford city community in 2006. “It is where we have raised our children, and we feel very connected to this place and are invested in helping Radford families thrive,” said Dr. Hartig.

Dr. Hastings said, “We are thrilled to be part of this exciting project that will help our community for generations to come. Growing healthy children leads to healthy schools and communities, which is our ultimate goal.”

Projects for the first year include increasing food security for children, expanding a school-based running/walking club, supporting a bike trip for all sixth-grade students and making improvements to Radford City that support physical fitness. Planned educational programs will introduce children and families to affordable and nutritious foods and food preparation methods, host speakers in nutrition and cooking, develop a cooking club and expand a school garden.

Belle Heth Elementary School Principal Tara Grant said, “We are excited to have support through this grant which will help support healthy learning and living opportunities for our students. “

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