Health for the Heights

PS48 is a public elementary school in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City. 89% of our students families have household incomes that are below the federal poverty line and 95% of our students qualify for free and reduced priced lunches. Because our students come from low income households and the neighborhood they live in does not provide easy access to fresh produce, the vast majority of them are not receiving the nourishment required for them to develop to their full potential.  Children that are properly nourished can take the most benefit from their education. Hungry and malnourished children don't have the reserves of energy to devote to learning to think critically or developing the skills necessary to compete with their more affluent and better fed peers. With your help we can change this situation.

Since many of our students eat 2-3 of their meals at school everyday we have the power to significantly impact the quality of their diet. We are reaching out for your financial support so that we can continue to work with the organization Wellness In The Schools (WITS), which supports us in providing our students with healthy scratch cooked meals and nutrition education. In November 2018 WITS helped our school transition over to a whole foods based menu. These meals are prepared from fresh ingredients that include whole grains, lean proteins, fresh vegetables and fresh fruit. Students also have daily access to a salad bar with scratch made dressings. These nutrient dense meals replace the standard school lunch menu, which consists of processed foods like beef patties, breaded chicken sandwiches and mozzarella sticks, which are served with canned vegetables. WITS has also helped us start the process of helping our students and parents understand and adjust to the new lunch menu through hands on cooking labs in which students help prepare some of the new food they are being served in the cafeteria.

In order to make the changes we have implemented sustainable we want to partner with Wellness In the Schools for a second year. Since it takes time for people to change their eating habits, especially when they are used to eating food that is highly processed, we will work with WITS to market the healthier food items through printed and verbal advertisement to highlight the appeal of the new menu items. We will also host fun events like cafe days where partner chefs come in to share healthy recipes. The WITS chef will also continue to conduct cooking lessons with all students during the school year. To engage the the parents we will work with WITS to plan several Family Fitness Fun Nights where we will invite in local fitness partners to conduct exercise workshops and we will demo the preparation of healthy recipes. Lastly WITS provide our school with a trained chef 2 days a week to help support our kitchen staff in streamlining the preparation of the more labor intensive whole foods based menu so that they will be able to continue to prepare it after WITS leaves our school .

Having Wellness in the Schools is helping us close the loop on work we have done over the past 8 years to help our students make lasting changes to their health. To make a connection between our students and where their food comes from we built a 127 square foot vegetable garden with the help of Grow to Learn and the American Heart Association . In addition we have a hydroponics lab that we run in partnership with New York Sun Works . To help our kids learn the basics of nutrition and start acclimating them to the taste of whole foods we partner with The Food Bank of the City of New York  through their CookShop program. We have also secured the partnerships of health organizations such as  New York Presbyterian's C.H.A.L.K which has allowed us to run Family Cooking nights where we able to share healthy and affordable recipes with parents. Now with your help we can maintain the support of Wellness in the Schools for an additional year to make sure that the food that we provide to our students will help them develop into healthy, happy and well educated citizens.
  • Anonymous 
    • $80 
    • 38 mos
  • Cheramie Mondesire  
    • $50 
    • 39 mos
  • Sandra Price 
    • $50 
    • 39 mos
  • Carl Sable 
    • $100 
    • 40 mos
  • Christian Mejia 
    • $100 
    • 40 mos
See all

Fundraising team: Healthy Families Committee (3)

Rachelle Marzola 
New York, NY
Kayla McCormack 
Team member
Shaniquia Stanley 
Team member
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