A new program has been established to educate and empower Grinnell elementary students to make healthy lifestyle choices, in and outside the classroom.
P.O.W.E.R. Kids (Positive Opportunities for Wellness, Exercise, and Reading for Kids), a partner program of the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation (CDAF), teaches and empowers students to practice positive dietary, physical, and emotional wellness habits through hands-on activities and educational opportunities.
Talks regarding the inception of P.O.W.E.R. Kids started in the Spring of 2022 when the Grinnell Educational Partnership (GEP) was searching for a group to support the sustainability of their previously named Healthy Readers Program. Part of the GEP since 2015 and run by AmeriCorps leaders, Healthy Readers’ programming was reduced during the pandemic due to in-person meeting difficulties. CDAF was eager to advance Healthy Readers’ efforts to improve the quality of life for current and future Grinnell residents, leading to the establishment of CDAF’s newest partner program, P.O.W.E.R. Kids.
“We’re thrilled to enhance the development of the Grinnell community and youth through this new avenue P.O.W.E.R. Kids,” says Jennifer Cogley, Director of Partner Programs at CDAF. “The program continues our various efforts to promote food security, healthful living, and education amongst Grinnellians, and we can’t wait for this increased collaboration with Grinnell youth.”
P.O.W.E.R. Kids reaches students through Grinnell’s elementary schools, providing fun, age-appropriate programming during the school year for kindergarten through fourth-grade students. This fall, in partnership with local food vendors, Davis Elementary third and fourth graders participated in a mini Farmers Market to learn about choosing, growing, and buying various healthy snacks and foods.” We are so thankful for the generosity of P.O.W.E.R. Kids! says Brian Conway, Davis Elementary Principal. “The 3rd and 4th graders were able to learn from our local experts about growing fresh produce and the importance of a local farmers market. This is only possible with community partners like P.O.W.E.R. Kids who support our schools!”
In October, the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach provided a smoothie bike that allowed second grade students to participate in a smoothie bike challenge that emphasized the benefits of healthy diet and exercise. P.O.W.E.R. Kids will build upon these activities in the future with engaging lessons about topics including mindfulness, physical wellness, and screen time use.
In late October, the program received an Instant Impact grant from the Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation and P.O.W.E.R. Kids is excited to use this funding to continue strengthening and improving its programming.
P.O.W.E.R. Kids is a partner program of CDAF, an innovative family foundation that promotes the well-being and development of present and future Grinnellians. It serves as an umbrella organization and financial manager for its ten community partners and their program funds, including Imagine Grinnell, JPK-Grinnell Area Mental Health Consortium, S.H.E. Counts, and Tiger Packs. This allows every partner to efficiently and effectively collaborate to serve the community while maintaining independent operating advisory boards.
Additional information about P.O.W.E.R. Kids and CDAF’s various partner programs, including ways to donate and support these programs, is available at https://ahrensfamilyfoundation.org/partner-program-funds/.