Erin Laurie, MS, RD, LD (Kansas)

The Family Champions parent cooking toolkit was very easy to use. I really liked the fact that the presentations were interactive and got participants involved. The handouts complimented the presentations nicely. The favorite was the “10 no-recipe meal ideas” handout. Participants commented how much they appreciated the “grocery list” already done for them—no thinking involved!

Lise Sanchez, RD, CD-N (Connecticut)

I have been very fortunate to have been awarded three Kids Eat Right mini grants including Healthy Breakfast, Healthy Snacking and Family Champions! The Academy Foundation KER program supports my efforts to fight pediatric obesity at the local level. The comprehensive toolkits include a wealth of information including speaker notes, PowerPoint presentations, handouts and more! I continue to use several of the toolkit handouts in my daily practice. My social media friends and family enjoy receiving the weekly KER messages which I post to Facebook and also tweet about!

Being a KER member allows me to work with my peers in a formal, organized way toward the monumental task of reducing the epidemic of obesity by improving the way America’s children eat. The Academy Foundation KER Program is a perfect forum for Academy members to join together with a consistent message to the public about improving health by improving nutrition for children and their families. Thank you for empowering me with the tools to get the job done! The KER program and toolkits makes being a KER member easy and I look forward to volunteering for many years to come! I truly believe in the mission of the Academy Foundation Kids Eat Right Program.

Kaiti George, LMNT (Nebraska)

The Kids Eat Right toolkits are an absolute perfect fit for my needs! I work with a pediatric obesity clinic and the toolkit topics align with my weekly themes. Each week, I teach kids and their families how healthy foods and proper nutrition can not only aid in weight loss, but make themselves healthier from head to toe. I will use the toolkit information frequently. The KER toolkits are perfectly packaged, easily accessible and, in my opinion, considered a home run of nutrition information!

Whitney Ceas, RD, LMNT (Nebraska)

I have received four of the Kids Eat Right Mini-Grants. It has been such an honor to represent the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in my community. The Kids Eat Right toolkits have provided me with everything I need to provide educational and interesting presentations to children and their parents. Working in a low-income area where families struggle with food insecurity issues has been a challenge for me to convey the importance of health. When families struggle to put food on the table, it is not a top priority to ensure what they are eating is nutritious.

These tool kits have allowed me to educate families on the importance of good nutrition, and with the funds provided I have been able to introduce low-budget healthy foods and their preparation techniques. It has been such a joy to see the excitement of the community trying new fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products and know that they have the understanding of how they can use these foods to create healthy meals.

Linda Ashley Mitchell, RD, LD (Iowa)

I’ve enjoyed highlighting simple ways to bring families around the dinner table by using the Kids Eat Right Family Meals toolkit.

Monica Stewart, RD, LD (Arkansas)

Food insecurity looks different in every state. In Northwest Arkansas, it looks like 1 in 4 people. I applied for the Hunger in Our Community mini-grant to coincide with a new student led food pantry at a local high school.

I was able to reach students, teachers, and administrators and together we’ve raised awareness for something very real in our community. It was a great experience and I look forward to doing more with Kids Eat Right in the future. Thank you!

Jordan Clark and Emily Stern (Tennessee)

As interns, it was a great privilege to be facilitators of the Kids Eat Right RD Parent Empowerment Program at Children’s First Head Start in Johnson City, Tenn. The experience helped us further develop our nutrition education skills to be used as we pursue careers in dietetics.

The four parent workshops gave us the tools and ideas to help encourage and teach families to shop smart, cook healthy, and eat right. Within each of these workshops we were able to introduce and instill the 8 Habits of Healthy Children and Families. Our parents were excited to learn and participate in discussion. They openly shared personal experiences and their goals to become healthier families.

San Diego State University Student Nutrition Organization (California)

The San Diego State University Student Nutrition Organization organized a Kids Eat Right gala and silent auction at their annual conference in November. As an organization they have a long history of community involvement, volunteering, and philanthropy.

The SNO President, Carl Barnes, said, “I had a vision of stepping up our efforts to a large scale fundraising and educational event. The Kids Eat Right campaign matched perfectly with our objectives and the SNO officers unanimously agreed that Kids Eat Right is a more than admirable cause to support. With an objective in mind, we set out to put together an event that brings excitement, revenue, and community education for Kids Eat Right.”

This was the first experience for the SNO in organizing an event of this magnitude. The event included a keynote speaker on child nutrition, information on the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation and Kids Eat Right. The event attracted 94 registered attendees and just over $2,000 was raised to support the San Diego State University Student Dietetic Association and Kids Eat Right.

Cindy Huggins, RDN, LD (Alabama)

I am grateful for the Kids Eat Right campaign. With the resources and available grants I have been able to get the Kids Eat Right message out in our community! At my hospital we hosted a kids summer wellness camp where I presented “Healthy Eating, From the Ground Up” and was financially able to supply seeds, pots, and soil to let the kids actually plant food thanks to the grant! Some of them were so amazed that our food comes from the ground (well some of it!).

In addition, you all inspired me to reach further. Last year I coordinated a large community health fair that brought in over 200 participants-majority of them kids! The Superintendent allowed schools to take a field trip to the fair for the day. I was able to use a lot of the presentations and materials throughout the fair. The kids got to learn about food and nutrition first hand and we threw in some Zumba!

I plan to strike big at our annual meeting this year and recruit as many Kids Eat Right campaign members as I can. You all are doing great things with this campaign and I hope you continue to get the support you need.

Anthony DiMarino, RD, LD (Texas)

As a new RD last year, I decided to give back to the schools that gave me so much while I was a student there. I presented the “MythBusters” presentation at my former grade school’s PTA meeting. I also presented the “Healthy Snacking for the Teen Athlete” to my former high school football team. Both audiences received the information well and were very excited about them!

Tara Jeanine Oliva, MS, MPH, RD, LDN (Illinois)

Thank you, Kids Eat Right, for designing informative and fun PowerPoint presentations for our use to help educate the community about healthy eating. My elementary school audience loved the “Healthy Eating from the Ground Up” toolkit. SUCCESS!

Ashley Sweeney, MS, RD, LD (Ohio)

The Kids Eat Right Hunger in the Community toolkit was fantastic. I used the toolkit with two groups of adults in the community and it brought a lot of great discussions. We were able to communicate about what is going on in the community currently, what we can be doing differently, who else we need to get involved and how we can put real solutions to work locally.

Kristen Alfonsi MS, RD, LD (Illinois)

I presented “Healthy Eating. From the Ground Up.” to 3rd graders. The students were truly engaged in the presentation and asked lots of good questions. I also gave them a chance to try blood oranges and flavored water (cucumber/lime and pear/apple). It was amazing to see the students trying new things and being excited about whole foods. Thank you Kids Eat Right for providing the grant to make this possible!

Rachel Hermecz, MS, RD, LD (Georgia)

As a nutrition educator at Georgia Southern University, rendering service to community of Statesboro, Georgia is a personal priority for me. My Nutrition and Health college students and I presented information from the Healthy Breakfast and Healthy Snacking toolkits to students in the after school care programs during National Nutrition Month. The students were very receptive to the information and were able to identify examples of healthy breakfast and snack foods by the end of the presentations.

This opportunity to teach students in my community has helped me to continue to develop leadership skills essential for a healthcare professional, and I treasure the opportunity of sharing my knowledge and experiences in the field of dietetics with my students. Thank you very much for the opportunity to empower students with the tools necessary to help them improve their dietary needs.

Glenda Lindsey, Dr. PH, MS, RD, LD (Maryland)

Being a “Hunger in the Community. What We Can Do.” Mini-grantee has been an incredibly worthwhile experience for me. It has enabled me to reach so many young people that were unaware of this compelling public health issue. However, they are willing and able to see what they can do to make a difference.

In addition, the mini- grant has assisted me in partnering with others in the community who are diligently working to reduce food insecurity. Thank you, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation, for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this movement.

Tamika Handfield, MS, RD (Turks & Caicos Islands)

I love using Kids Eat Right toolkits because they are well researched and makes it easy to deliver the content. The Healthy Schools toolkit was no exception. It gave many practical suggestions on wellness programs that can be started in a school.

Maria Franklin, RD (Michigan)

Our Center for School Health at Wayne State University is extremely excited to use our Champions for Healthy Kids grant to implement a healthy school transformation with Munger Elementary in Detroit Michigan. The funds will be used to introduce the Building Healthy Communities program and infuse physical activity and healthy eating through the school environment as a way of improving student health and academic achievement. We hope this award will allow us to literally improve the health status and school success of hundreds of inner city children.

Heidi Gil (Brazil)

I love the concept of Kids Eat Right International! I get involved at the local Junior High/High School here in the Amazon basin whenever I can. The effort put into translating the presentations into Portuguese and adapting them to the north Brazilian culture is well worth it. Our school community welcomes sound nutrition advice and KERI facilitates transmitting that advice in a fun, credible and relevant manner.

Janet Leader, MPH, RD (California)

The Champions for Healthy Kids grant allowed us to integrate nutrition into the UCLA medical school’s outreach program at an East Los Angeles high school. By using this generous funding, we were able to train public health graduate students to teach a series of nutrition classes, side by side with medical students who were teaching other health classes. It was the perfect blend of cross-professional cooperation and a wonderful experience for the high students who enjoyed the food samples, cookbooks and new knowledge.

Farryl Bertmann, PhD, RD (Vermont)

I am delighted to bring the Smart Choices. For a Healthy Planet. to our small rural Vermont community through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation Mini-Grant. Working together with community partners, I am able to share this important tool with both a teen group and an adult group.

Farming has been a key social and economic component of our rural community since its founding in 1779. Although farming continues to be present and valued, our rural community also struggles with extensive hunger and food access issues. I believe my community will be receptive to the tool kit and become agents of change for our region.

Lindsey Kennedy, RD (New Jersey)

Community Foodbank of NJ’s Healthy Cities Initiative has allowed us to implement some great changes involving quality medical care, safe places to play and nutritious food in our Kids Cafe Programs. The children in our Newark locations have received produce to enjoy over the weekend, dental cleanings, eye exams and hands on nutrition activities.

One of the best parts of the grant was sending children to the Grow-a-Row farm where they picked fresh produce. For many students, this was their first time seeing how food grows. It is truly rewarding watching them pick and taste nectarines, corn or green beans right in the field.

We have also loved getting creative with our nutrition curriculum. The students have been able to make healthy snacks such as fruit pizza and share recipes with their parents to make at home. The Healthy Cities Initiative has inspired me to think beyond nutrition when working to improve our programs in the future.

Erika Hval, MS RD CDN (New York)

WHEDco’s Fresh Start Bronx Initiative works to improve the nutrition and physical fitness practices of day care homes in the Bronx through a combination of workshops, site visits and technical assistance sessions. I teach participating day care providers about the basics of healthy eating, review their day care menus, and discuss ways to incorporate more fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains into the children’s day.

I also help our providers lead a variety of activities that promote physical activity and developmentally appropriate motor skills; these fun and game-like activities make use of common household objects to keep costs low, and can be tailored to suit programs of any size.

Alana Marrero Gonzalez, LND, MHSN (Puerto Rico)

I just completed my presentations of the “Smart Choices. For a Healthy Planet.” I had an amazing experience once again. This year I was very honored to present to more than 200 WIC employees. Every year more and more people are interested in learning and receiving my Kids Eat Right presentations. I’ve dreamed of becoming a leader of nutrition in Puerto Rico and thanks to these mini-grants my dream is coming true. I will be forever grateful.

Monica Griffin, MS, RDN, LD (Georgia)

Parks and Recreation systems are found in nearly every community in America, and offer a tremendous opportunity to combat poor nutrition, physical inactivity and obesity. Through the Champions for Healthy Kids grant and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s Strong4Life Ambassador Program, we have partnered with local parks and recreation systems to implement a wellness policy, or “Wellness Blueprint.”

We are providing one-on-one support and resources to improve the nutrition and physical activity environment in summer camps, youth sports, after-school programs, community events and more. The most exciting part has been experiencing the commitment from parks and recreation leadership to make change, and to see how their wellness policy affects all aspect of programming. We also created an online wellness hub to expand our reach and provide resources to help other youth organizations promote nutrition and physical activity in their programs.

Elissa Bremner, RD (New York)

In searching for Spanish resources for a pilot program addressing the health needs of Latino families with young children, I came upon the RD Parent Empowerment Program, and it seemed a perfect match for our goals. I just wanted to say thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to stretch our grant dollars and reach a target at-risk population in our community.

Each group attended six weekly workshops (four nutrition classes were based on the RD Parent Empowerment program, plus two physical activity sessions – yoga and zumba). The RD also provided cooking demonstrations paired with nutrition education displays. Initial classes were taught by the Registered Dietitian and assisted by our Bilingual Health Educators. Parent Ambassador volunteers learned the program through training and participation and took a greater role in leading by the final groups.

In total, we reached over 100 families through 646 encounters in seven series of workshops. What an awesome program! Our community partners and participants all were so pleased with the services provided.

Nick Fischer, RDN, LDN (Pennsylvania)

Project R.U.N. is an extension of our organization’s award-winning physical activity and nutrition program, Kids of STEEL. KOS challenges children to complete physical activity goals to reach the equivalent of running a marathon and taste 26 new fruits, vegetables, beans and nuts.

Through Project R.U.N., we provide hands-on coaching and nutrition education, free registrations and transportation to a 1-mile race. Now in nine sites throughout Pittsburgh, we personalize nutrition education to each site.

At some sites, parents come for cooking classes and food tastings. At other sites, I expose younger kids to unfamiliar with fruits and vegetables that they may not see in their school lunch or at home. Our goal is to provide kids, families, and communities with the tools they need to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Tracey Sauke, RDN, LD (Iowa)

The Kids Eat Right and Future of Food toolkits are very easy to use. I presented the Tossed Treasures presentation to two groups using the toolkit. I was able to prepare for the presentation in less than 15 minutes! I simply read over the PowerPoint and script provided and printed the handouts. The materials were professional and easy to understand. The fun statistics included in the toolkit also kept the audience’s attention. Instead of reinventing the wheel, I will be checking out the other toolkits for future presentations.

Gregory Nyers, dietetic intern (Ohio)

It is very rewarding for me to help young adults develop strong habits that will encourage a healthy lifestyle for them. Toolkits like “Tossed Treasures” help me and other professionals to accomplish this. The children are also a very important part of the team who will be able to influence their families and friends. I look forward to more opportunities to work with the Academy Foundation and Kids Eat Right and continue to spread the word through presentations.

Lisa Zatcoff, DTR (Arizona)

I enjoyed presenting the “Tossed Treasures” toolkit to eager groups of teens. This was a group of teens that did not realize just how much food they and others waste. As the toolkit was presented they really had an awakening and offered many ideas on how they could change the way they and their family handle food. The groups were most surprised on how wasted food also impacted the environment.

Chelsea Ankenbrandt, dietetic student (Michigan)

Giving a presentation can seem daunting at times trying to prepare all of the materials, but with talking points and handouts it seemed like a breeze! It was a great resource for me as a student, because it challenged me to get out of my comfort zone and present, but I was confident with all of the great information behind me. Toolkits are a great way for students like myself to easily get out in the community and gain experience giving presentations and pass out some great information!

Kathryn Thompson, RDN, LD (Iowa)

For the past seven years I’ve had the privilege of leading an awesome team of RDNs in the state of Iowa. In this time we’ve impacted hundreds school wellness communities through workshops, webinars, special school events and district meetings. I’ve witnessed firsthand the smiling faces of school staff members as they received funding for taste testing opportunities or received a USDA HealthierUS School Challenge: Smarter Lunchroom award, and simply from hearing encouraging words from their RDNs like, “You’ve done a great job! You’re a wellness champion!” These smiles are the reason I love my job!

Chris Vogliano MS, RDN (Washington)

It’s been an absolute pleasure working with The Academy Foundation over the past few years. It all started when I was selected to be an Agriculture, Nutrition and Health Research Fellow, and since then the rest is history. The Academy Foundation has allowed me to make a myriad of personal and professional connections that I will cherish for the rest of my career.

With their help, I have been able to publish multiple papers, as well as co-develop webinars, toolkits and infographics – all to support the notion that our diets can be healthy for both people and the planet. I owe these successes and many more to the support of The Academy Foundation, which is why I always encourage my colleagues to consider supporting the great work they do. Thank you!