Can a lifelong commitment to health begin in elementary school?
Lakes International Language Academy (LILA) is one of ten elementary schools in Minnesota and western Wisconsin with the opportunity to answer that question.
LILA will participate in a novel partnership with Allina Health. The school has been selected as a School Health Connection site for the 2012–13 school year and will receive a $10,000 grant to promote healthy activities.
“We are so pleased to receive this grant,” said director Cam Hedlund. “We will use the funds to develop a playground designed to promote peaceful play and geared toward lifelong fitness.”
LILA will also have direct access to Allina Health caregivers, including a consulting physician from the Allina clinic, who will help staff respond to health issues affecting their school.
The program will provide on-line learning tools, teacher training and a health fair for the entire school community. This event will include health screenings for teachers and parents as a means to model healthy behavior for children.
“Building a culture of good health is an important part of our mission, and getting our young people engaged early is crucial to that endeavor,” said Kenneth H. Paulus, president and CEO of Allina Health. “The partnership of neighborhood caregivers with local schools is long overdue. We have some serious work to do to turn back the growing tide of obesity in our communities, and time is of the essence.”
The other nine schools chosen are in Braham, Lafayette, South St. Paul, Minneapolis, Brooklyn Park, Buffalo, Shakopee, and Owatonna in Minnesota, and River Falls in Wisconsin.
More than 80 schools submitted applications.