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St. Lawrence Centra, Canton receive grant funding for ‘Adopting Healthy Habits’ initiative

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BRASHER FALLS - A St. Lawrence Central School club whose goal is to increase access to fruits and vegetables for at-risk middle school students has received grant funding from the Northern New York Community Foundation and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County.

The St. Lawrence Central Garden Club was one of eight community organizations and schools to receive grant funding for projects as part of the “Adopting Healthy Habits” initiative.

“It’s great for them. Targeting a certain demographic - the student body - helps in a huge way,” said Max M. DelSignore, coordinator of donor services for the Northern New York Community Foundation.

Canton Central School also received a grant for its Canton Golden Bears Packs Program, which purchases healthy and nutritious foods for at-risk youth over school weekends and holiday breaks.

Applications were accepted from St. Lawrence, Jefferson and Lewis counties. All together, 13 applications were received and reviewed by a tri-county advisory committee at Cornell Cooperative Extension and the Northern New York Community Foundation.

“It was a cross-over of all three counties when it comes to this initiative. When they approached us about the initiative and we had conversations initially about it, we had to think, ‘What is the best way we can have widespread impact through three counties,’” Mr. DelSignore said.

The program will focus on collaborating with agencies, organizations and schools to introduce best practices that are designed to increase nutrition and physical activity and combat obesity. Cornell Cooperative Extension will work with each agency and school district to implement its respective project or program. Projects will be under way this spring.

“We’re grateful to work in concert with Cornell Cooperative Extension to help address this global concern at a local level. It is great to see these organizations and school districts take a proactive approach and continue to focus on community betterment in multiple aspects,” Mr. DelSignore said.

“A healthy lifestyle is about the choices we all make,” said Amanda Root, community nutrition andhealth program leader at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County. “Those choices, however, are shaped by the opportunities that surround us. Research demonstrates that people are more likely to engage in healthy behaviors when communities have easily available options that encourage and promote healthy habits.”

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