Federal Money Puts Students in Charge
41 Kentucky high schools will soon be receiving grants, but the money won't be going to teachers or administrators. Students will be deciding how the money is spent. The program is called Students Taking Charge, which is part of Kentucky Action for Healthy Kids. It distributes $500 grants to schools in the hopes that students will take the reins, explore projects that might improve health and nutrition, and use the funds to implement effective changes.
"They take on a certain area of interest, whether it be physical activity, nutrition, or tobacco, to improve in their school environment and they work with their school administration, school staff, parents, and the school community to improve this jointly," says Victoria Greenwell with the Kentucky Department for Public Health.
The projects have included school gardens, more specific menu labeling in cafeterias, and weight loss challenges. According to a 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, only 16.7 percent of Kentucky students reported having eaten five servings of fruit and vegetables every day over a week's time. Greenwell says she hopes the grants will get students more involved in their own health.