The Learning Center! Charter School is a proud recipient of both the “A+ Fit School” designation and a $7500 grant awarded by The North Carolina Health and Wellness Trust Fund (HWTF). The HWTF announced the award of eight Fit Community designations and seven A+ Fit School designations to North Carolina municipalities, nonprofit organizations and schools. These designations recognize the work that has been done to promote physical activity, healthy eating and tobacco-free lifestyles through programs, policies and environmental changes at the school and community levels.
Of the seven schools that received the A+ Fit School designation in the state of North Carolina, The Learning Center! was one of only two that received both the designation and the A+ Fit School grant. Each designated school will receive a plaque, a school banner, and a $1,000 discretionary stipend. The Charter School will also receive $7,500 in grant funding over a period of one year. In addition to the grant funding provided by HWTF, each school receives technical assistance from East Carolina University’s Department of Health Education and Promotion.
“Community and school environments have a tremendous influence on individual health behaviors,” said Dr. Chuck Willson, HWTF chair. “These designees and grantees are clearly committed to fostering healthful changes in their communities and schools, and this is vital to the success of obesity prevention efforts and to improving the health of our population.”
“The Learning Center has operated from the basic premise that nutrition and overall wellness are big factors in academic performance.” said school director Mary Jo Dyre. “Our nutrition and exercise programs such as “Far Out Food Ventures” and “Walk and Talk Fitness Group” (which includes parents) builds an environment that promotes nutrition and wellness as strongly as we promote learning in core subject areas.”
Obesity has emerged as a major threat to children and adults across the United States and is particularly prevalent here in North Carolina. According to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 61% of North Carolina adults are overweight or obese, with obesity-related expenses adding up to more than $2.1 billion annually. HWTF’s Fit Community and A+ Fit School programs support local efforts to address this growing problem.
“We are thrilled about the award.” said Dyre. “I got a personal call and it was emphasized that the Health and Wellness commissioners were very impressed with all that our school is doing.”