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Los Niños Early Childhood Montessori Program, 2017 Gold Award Level

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Wellness Areas: Menu, Physical Activity, Nutrition Education, Child Care Environment


Los Niños Early Childhood Montessori Program is part of Community Family Centers, a multi-service nonprofit agency in Houston’s inner city East End. Community Family Centers supports low income families by making high-quality early childhood education accessible at a low cost to children ages three to six years. Los Niños is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), certified as a 4-Star Texas Rising Star (TRS) center, and is an affiliate of the United Way Bright Beginnings program, the Young Learners School, and the Child Care Council of Greater Houston.

The Los Niños Early Childhood Montessori Program is implementing the Establishing 3E’s (E3E) grant in our efforts to attain the gold-level Healthier CACFP Recognition Award. The grant funds will enable Los Niños to improve the quality of menu offerings by the purchase of “Rainbow In My Tummy” resources and various culinary supplies. Funds will also facilitate our partnership with a registered dietician and community health professionals to ensure alignment with CACFP meal pattern guidelines. New menus will include locally grown foods, multi-cultural recipes, greater variety of fruits and dark green vegetables, more whole grains and protein options, and produce harvested from the school’s outdoor garden.  

To increase physical activity, funds will be used to partner with local youth and gym facilities, fitness trainers, and established summer programs to coordinate physical fitness classes and events for students and families onsite and at local parks. The Los Niños daily schedule will increase time for physical activity, and yoga will be integrated with physical exercise. Grant monies will be utilized to contract a certified fitness trainer for structured physical fitness classes and to host a Family Fitness Night. The Los Niños school newsletter will also promote physical activity through monthly-themed family physical exercise logs.

In support of nutrition education, Los Niños will expend grant funds to host a Health Fair to enable access to health and wellness information, screenings for children and adults, and referrals to community health partners. In conjunction with the Houston Food Bank, parent classes will provide nutrition resources, creative recipes, healthy holiday options, and enable parents to participate in cooking demonstrations and taste-testing events. We will partner with a local farmer, Finca Tres Robles-Small Places, to purchase locally grown produce and will participate in its farm field trip experience known as Setting the Table. Students and parents will be able to tour the farm, harvest produce, and with the assistance of a trained chef, use the ingredients to prepare a family-style meal onsite. Funds will also be used to initiate our fall “Sugar Smart” and spring “Leap Into Healthy Foods” campaigns to promote healthy lifestyle choices.


The Los Niños child care environment will entail breakfast, lunch, and snacks family-style meal service and teachers integrating topics of healthy food choices during mealtimes. Additional funds will be used to purchase teacher resources, such as
“My Plate” Teacher Kits/activity mats, classroom posters, center manipulatives, puzzles, and garden tools/supplies for planting fruits, herbs, and vegetables.

Motivation Education & Training, Inc., 2017 Gold Award Level

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Wellness Areas: Menus, Physical Activity, Nutrition Education and Child Care Environment


Motivation Education & Training, Inc. (MET, Inc.) is a private, nonprofit corporation that began serving rural areas of Southeast Texas in 1967. MET, Inc. Head Start/Early Head Start is dedicated to the promotion of child and family well-being throughout the communities in which the organization operates. MET, Inc. serves children and families in eight counties across southeast Texas.
 

MET, Inc. is working toward a gold-level Healthier CACFP Recognition Award by improving the quality of meals and snacks served, encouraging more physical activity, providing nutrition education and adding nutritional materials and activities to our Head Start classroom environments through the Happy Children, Healthy Eating Initiative. This initiative will impact 442 children in five Head Start centers.

Grant funds from the Establishing 3E’s grant will be used to purchase two new resources: Rainbow in My Tummy (RIMT) for each site and Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH) for each Head Start center. RIMT recipes will be used to improve the quality of meals and snacks served. These recipes will also be used during our taste testing events with children. Nutrition assistants at each site will also have opportunities to work and train with a professional chef. MET, Inc. is also partnering with the Texas AgriLfe Extension Agency to establish gardens at three of the Head Start centers. Each site will receive the complete CATCH curriculum and training from certified CATCH trainers. The CATCH curriculum will further integrate nutrition and movement into daily classroom routines.

The overall goal of the MET, Inc. Happy Children, Healthy Eating Initiative is to promote a two-generation approach to wellness by targeting children’s knowledge of healthy eating and movement, while concurrently educating parents and teachers about the importance of a healthy lifestyle and a well-balanced diet.


Connally ISD Child Care, 2017 Silver Award Level

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Sidonia King is director of Child Care at Connally ISD Child Care, a school based facility that is open to the community.  Connally Child Care cares for infants through school agers in its facility.  Sidonia King has BSW from Tarleton State University and has been center director since 2001. 

 

Ms. King and Connally are working toward a silver-level Healthier CACFP Recognition Award at its center by improving the quality of menus, encouraging more physical activity, providing nutrition education and improving the child care environment by starting raised bed gardens at the center. 

 

The Establishing 3E’s (E3E) grant funds will be used to purchase equipment necessary to establish raised-bed gardens. Watching foods grow will help children develop an interest in consuming more fresh vegetables and fruits. We will work with a local farmer’s coalition to establish these gardens. They will also be used to host two parent involvement sessions in which healthy recipes will be prepared by local chefs.  Connally ISD will also increase physical activity by implementing a “Move and Groove Program” where planned physical activities and active brain breaks are included in daily schedules. Nutrition Education will be addressed using Rainbow in My Tummy.  The funds from the E3E grant will bring child care staff, parents and resources together to facilitate healthy eating, healthy behaviors and routines for the families we serve. 

El Paso Armed Services YMCA, 2017 Gold Award Level

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Wellness Areas- Physical Activity & Nutrition Education 

The El Paso Armed Services YMCA (ASYMCA) is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that serves junior enlisted military members and their families. We are proud to have a child development center (ASYMCA CDC) that is accredited through the National Association of Education for Young Children (NAEYC) for the past eight years. Additionally, ASYMCA CDC is also recognized by Texas Rising Star with a 4 star rating. That is the highest possible rating in the Texas Rising Star program, a voluntary, quality-based child care rating system of child care providers participating in the Texas Workforce Commission’s subsidized child care program. The center is open to both military and civilian families. Currently, there are 82 children enrolled with ages from 6 weeks to 12 years old. We offer various programs from early education to before and after school care.

The ASYMCA CDC is striving to advance our curriculum and accomplish a gold-level Healthier CACFP Recognition Award by improving the quality of meals and snacks served, encouraging more daily physical activity, and providing nutritional education to our children and their families. The Establishing 3E’s (E3E) grant funds will be used to purchase Rainbow In My Tummy (RIMT) resources that will help improve the quality of meals and snacks served on our menu. RMIT recipes will be used for test tasting events with our children and their families to encourage the exploration of new foods in a family-style meal environment. In addition, ASYMCA CDC will incorporate fun-filled physical activities two times daily for 30 minutes. Moreover, ASYMCA CDC provides programs, such as Baby Café and community garden to expand our pursuit in encouraging children and their families about a healthier lifestyle. Baby Café is an open-site breastfeeding area that provides a safe and comfortable room for breastfeeding moms to feed their babies. This café is designed to support and educated breastfeeding moms. ASYMCA CDC community garden will teach our children how fruits and vegetables grow and the importance of the process.

Furthermore, the grant funds from E3E will provide ASYMCA CDC staff, children and families the resources and tools to improve their lifestyles. This grant will allow ASYMCA to expand our curriculum through nutritional education and physical activities. 


Las Palmas Montessori Child Care Center #2, 2017 Gold Award Level

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Wellness Areas:  Physical activity 



Las Palmas Montessori Child Care Center in Mission, Texas is geared toward achieving quality care using the highest professional standards. The center received a prestigious 4-Star Texas Rising Star rating. That is the highest possible rating in the Texas Rising Star program, a voluntary, quality-based child care rating system of child care providers participating in the Texas Workforce Commission’s subsidized child care program. The center utilized the Texas School Ready (TSR) curriculum for the preschool children, the same curriculum used by school districts.

Las Palmas Montessori Child Care Center is working toward a gold level Healthier CACFP Recognition Award by improving the quality of meals and snacks served. Also, Las Palmas will increase the amount of physical activity for children by upgrading outdoor play areas so they are accessible and shielded from the South Texas sun.

The Region 1 education service center (ESC) is working with Las Palmas to fully utilize resources and provide technical assistance in using Rainbow In My Tummy to comply with the gold-criteria for improving menus. TV time will be substituted with fun physical activities and nutrition education.

Overall, the grant funds will provide resources to improve the quality of the menus, provide a comfortable environment for children and staff to have physical activities outdoors, and improve nutrition education. Las Palmas will work to teach  children to where fresh vegetables come from so that when asked they will answer “from the ground and not the grocery store.”
A Child's Place Learning Center, Gold Award Level  Minimize 
Wellness areas: Menu, physical activity, nutrition education and child care environment

A Child's Place Learning CenterA Child’s Place Learning Center is a nonprofit early learning center that has been serving Texas families in Kerr and surrounding counties since 1999. Enrollment has grown from 12 children to 120 by adhering to a mission of offering a caring, fun, learning environment for young children from disadvantaged families. 

A Child’s Place Learning Center is using the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) Establishing 3E’s (E3E) grant funds to work toward a gold-level Healthier CACFP Recognition Award. Grant funds will be used to improve menu items through farm-to-child care and through nutrition education for parents, staff and children. School gardens and purchases of local foods will supplement center meals.  

The grant coordinator also is providing nutrition education and physical activities with children and staff. Teachers are implementing these activities as part of their daily lesson plans. This grant funding will help make the changes necessary to offer more nutritious foods for our children and more resources and education for our community. 

Children in care are ages 6 weeks through 12 years.  Currently our staff consists of 15 full-time and 3 part-time employees.  Many of our staff have received or are working toward their Child Development Associates Degree and we are currently working to renew Texas Rising Star certification.


Brentwood Children's Academy, Bronze Award Level  Minimize 
Wellness areas: Physical activity and nutrition education

Brentwood Children's AcademyAngie Willis owns Brentwood Children’s Academy, a Christian-based preschool in Houston. The three locations focus on becoming an extended family for the 350-plus infants and children currently enrolled. 
 
Willis and Brentwood Children’s Academy are working toward a bronze-level Healthier CACFP Recognition Award by improving the quality of meals and snacks served, encouraging more physical activity and providing nutrition education in two of their three centers. 

They will use the Establishing 3E’s (E3E) grant funds to purchase Rainbow In My Tummy and use it to improve the quality of meals and snacks with taste testing and the resource’s accredited recipes. Willis also plans to introduce family-style meal service and a fitness class with sports, tumbling, dancing and more. Overall the grant funds will provide opportunities for staff, children and families to improve healthy lifestyles through nutrition education, physical fitness and healthy eating.


Bryan’s House, Silver Award Level  Minimize 
Wellness areas: Menu, physical activity, nutrition education and child care environment

Bryan's HouseBryan’s House is a Dallas child care provider created to care for children with HIV/AIDS. Over the years, Bryan’s House has offered a wide range of care for more than 15,000 children and helped their families lead fulfilling lives. Today, medical advances and education have shifted the need and, happily, fewer children are born with HIV/AIDS.

Bryan’s House will use the Establishing the 3E’s (E3E) nutrition grant funds to obtain a silver-level Healthier CACFP Recognition Award by improving their menu to incorporate fresh options and culturally diverse meals. It will introduce a fitness program that addresses the differing needs of children with and without special physical and medical needs. Additionally they will enhance their classroom “home areas” with plentiful, realistic-looking, pretend food and kitchen supplies.


La Mision Child Care and Kid Kamp, Gold Award Level  Minimize 
Wellness areas: Menu, physical activity, nutrition education and child care environment

La Mision Child Care and Kid KampCecilio DeJesus, a retired Army Nurse Corps officer and assistant professor at San Antonio College, has been the administrator and director of La Mision Child Care and Kid Kamp since October1, 2016. 

La Mision Child Care and Kid Kamp will use the Establishing 3E’s (E3E) grant funds to implement the Healthier Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Recognition Award and pursue a gold level award. Grant funds will be used to purchase Rainbow In My Tummy (RIMT) to improve the quality of meals and snacks served, gardening supplies to build an outdoor garden, and supplies to produce a parent newsletter. DeJesus and La Mision also will take steps to improve menus, increase daily age appropriate physical activities and improve the child care environment.


Lollypop Learning Center, Gold Award Level  Minimize 

Wellness areas: Menu, physical activity, nutrition education and child care environment


Lollypop Learning CenterAdministrator Naci Sigler’s passion to improve early child care environments and outcomes at Lollypop Learning Center has led her to implement programming such as after-school Spanish lessons and summer swimming lessons. Lollypop Learning Center also has received a Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) Farm-to-Child Care grant. 

Sigler and Lollypop Learning Center are working toward a gold-level Healthier CACFP Recognition Award at two centers by improving the quality of meals and snacks, encouraging more physical activity, providing nutrition education, and improving the child care environment. 

The Establishing 3E’s (E3E) grant funds will be used to purchase Rainbow In My Tummy (RIMT) and Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH). Using the two resources, Lollypop Learning Center will incorporate taste-testing and family-style meal service, and improve physical activity and nutrition education. Funds also will be used to provide certified child-size single hand-wash sinks. Most importantly, the Healthier CACFP Recognition Award will bring preschool staff, parents, caregivers and proven resources together to further facilitate healthy behaviors and routines for the children in care and promote the best outcomes possible!



Promiseland Learning Center, Bronze Award Level  Minimize 
Wellness areas: Menu, physical activity and nutrition education

Promiseland Learning Center

 Promiseland Learning Center was established in 2007 and offers year round care for children 6 weeks old to 5 years old, as well asbefore and after school service for school age children. Director Kaye Hill applied for the Establishing the 3E’s (E3E) nutrition grant and will use the funds to improve the quality of meals and snacks, increase physical activity and help engage parents in learning about the benefits of good, nutritional and healthier lifestyles.

Promiseland will provide nutrition education by offering children a farmers market to show them how fruits and vegetables are grown and arrive at their tables. They will get hands on experience sorting, selling and preparing produce. Improved nutrition will be achieved by adding fresh fruits and vegetables to menus. Increased physical activity will come from Free Movement classes that emphasize Yoga for Preschoolers.

Providing healthy recipes and exercising tips to parents will engage parents in making healthy choices for families. Teachers will be encouraged to be role models for eating healthy and exercising with the children. 


Texas Tech University Early Head Start, Bronze Award Level  Minimize 
Wellness Areas: Menu, child care environment and breast feeding awareness

Texas Tech University Early Head StartTexas Tech University (TTU) Early Head Start provides year-round comprehensive care for pregnant women and families with children six-weeks old to three years old. It is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. It currently serves 48 children and provides weekly home visits to 24 families and Early Head Start services to 24 Child Care Partner children. There are no fees for the services and children receive warm, nurturing care from credentialed and degreed teachers who promote each child’s language, emotional, social, motor and cognitive development.

TTU Early Head Start plans to use grant funds from Establishing the 3E’s (E3E) to obtain a bronze-level Healthier CACFP Recognition Award by improving menus and adding nutritional materials and activities to our child care environment. Specifically, TTU Early Head Start plans to set up a designated breast feeding area, provide nutrition-related books, puzzles, posters, and other materials in the classroom, and implement classroom activities that promote toddler involvement in meal times.

The education specialist, Andrea Bewley, will work closely with teachers to implement tastings, nutrition activities, and classroom environments that support wellness and healthy eating.

Exposing children to a variety of healthy food options helps them develop food attitudes and dietary practices that support good health.  When children take part in hands-on learning and play activities, they are exposed to a healthy food culture which communicates that healthy eating is important. And infants have a healthy beginning when mothers are encouraged to breastfeed in a supportive and welcoming environment.


YWCA of Lubbock, Bronze Award Level  Minimize 
Wellness areas: Menus, physical activity and nutrition education

YWCA of LubbockChartered in 1956, the YWCA of Lubbock is dedicated to enriching the lives of Lubbock families. The YWCA is particularly well-known for YWCA Summer Day Camps and for YW-Care which serves more than 1,000 children daily with after school programs in 25 elementary schools throughout the Lubbock area. In 2016, the YWCA continued implementation of important initiatives to assist the South Plains region in the areas it is best known for: child care and early education to support youth and families. 

YWCA of Lubbock is working toward a bronze-level Healthier CACFP Recognition Award by improving the quality of meals and snacks served, encouraging more physical activity and providing nutrition education in three of their early child care centers. The goal is to become a leader and help families choose healthy options by showing them how to prepare economical and healthful meals for their families. The Establishing 3E’s (E3E) grant funds will be used to purchase Rainbow In My Tummy (RIMT) resource to improve the quality of meals and snacks served. RIMT recipes will be used for test tasting with the children to encourage them to try new foods. Grant funds will also provide yoga and swim lessons to children.



In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, 
color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.  
 
Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits.  Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.  Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.
 
To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:  
mail: 
U.S. Department of Agriculture 
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights 
1400 Independence Avenue, SW 
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; 
(2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or 
(3) email: program.intake@usda.gov.
 
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

© 2017 Texas Department of Agriculture