Josh Miller, a student from Basswood Elementary School in Maple Grove, Minn., recently experienced a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet renowned business leader Warren Buffett at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting in Omaha, Neb., as part of GENYOUth Foundation’s AdVenture Capital grant program. Miller was one of five Fuel Up to Play 60 Student Ambassadors from across the country. The students were selected for submitting an entrepreneurial idea to provide his or her classmates greater access to healthier food and physical activity.
Basswood Elementary will receive $4,000 from GENYOUth Foundation to implement Miller’s “Motivational Mondays,” a structured, 30-minute weekly exercise program led by the school’s Fuel Up to Play 60 team and adult leaders. Exercises may include push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, running races, ball toss, etc., and will incorporate music to add excitement and enthusiasm. Participants in “Motivational Mondays” will all receive stickers and drawings will be held for tee-shirts. The funds will be used for signage and station equipment, printing costs, a portable music station and incentives.
“I’m excited that we’ll be able to get a structured physical activity program going at our school,” Miller says. “We’re trying to solve two problems at recess: kids just standing around and kids being excluded. The benefits we will receive from this program are endless. Getting fresh air and exercise helps you in school, and we can also build a sense of community, because a program like this, with stations, music, and incentives for participating, will include everybody. That is what I love about Fuel up to Play 60: It can help anyone.”
Since this program will be available to all students at Basswood, it will also help students who are most at-risk for poor nutrition and lack of physical activity. Ten percent of the students at Basswood are living at or below the poverty level.
During his meeting with Buffett, Miller shared his winning idea to improve school wellness and received feedback and advice from the business magnate. All five winners will go on to lead their programs in school with guidance from an “Inspiration Panel” of young innovators in education, technology, and social media.
“Healthy students are better students, and kids themselves are often the best source of creative ideas to make schools a healthier place,” said Molly Pelzer, RD, LD, senior vice president of Midwest Dairy Council. “Josh is a true leader at a young age, and we look forward to seeing how he will help his peers at Basswood Elementary to make health and wellness a priority.”
From healthy cooking classes to recreational sports leagues, the AdVenture Capital student winners submitted innovative and youth-friendly ideas to create a healthier school environment. Additional national winners include:
- Lily Ayotte—Milford, N.H.—7th grade: “What’s Cooking in Titan’s Kitchen?,” a series of after-school healthy cooking classes featuring guest chefs
- Lashon Bonaventure—Bronx, N.Y.—4th grade: “Project Play + Eating Right = A Healthy Me,” a series of workshops for students to learn how to cook and grow organic produce
- Emma Buchanan—Glade Spring, Va.—10th grade: “Healthy Matters: Teaching Wellness for all Generations,” a monthly class featuring health information, healthy family cooking classes and personal fitness guidance
- Kaylene Khosla—Pueblo, Colo.—9th grade: “Play Today. Succeed Tomorrow,” a recreational sports league for elementary students to focus on teamwork, healthy diets, exercise and strategy
Even more students will have the opportunity to receive funds from AdVenture Capital for improving the nutrition and physical activity environment in their school when the second round of grants is awarded this fall. The application period will open in mid-August. Visit www.GENYOUthFoundation.org for more information at that time.