Benson Freshman academy awarded $20,000 grant from the Nike employee grant fund of the Oregon community foundation

Posted 10/11/2012 | By HealthCorps

October 11, 2012

Kaitlyn MacGregor
PHONE: 916-532-4451

Benson Freshman academy awarded $20,000 grant from the Nike employee grant fund of the Oregon community foundation

 A Collaborative Effort Between Benson HealthCorps Coordinator and Benson Staff, the Grant Will Increase Physical Well-Being and Academic Success Among Benson’s Freshmen

PORTLAND, Ore. – Faced with a growing number of students falling below physical fitness and academic benchmarks, Benson HealthCorps coordinator Amy Barras and five Benson High School staff collectively applied and were awarded a $20,000 grant through the Nike Employee Grant Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation. The grant will be used to increase the physical health, well-being, and academic success of Benson High School freshmen through the Fit to Live and Learn program.

“Physical activity has many benefits but one that few people realize is the well documented link between physical activity and academic performance,” said Shawn Hayes, HealthCorps Chief Academic Officer and Director of Research and Education. “It turns out that exercise prior to an exam for example can significantly improve test performance.”

Fit to Live and Learn will restructure classes to integrate daily physical activity into freshman schedules and use research-supported strategies to effectively engage students so they become invested in the program. Benson’s goals to help freshman excel will be achieved through collaboration with PE and health classes to address both the gap in physical fitness and academic achievement.

“Options for fun fitness development in school can be quite a challenge, but thanks to Nike our Fit to Live and Learn program just made it real for our students,” said Linda McLellan a Benson Health and PE teacher and co-author of the grant proposal.

To make the program a long term and sustainable success, the next year will see both the implementation of the physical and academic aspects of the program, but will also build the foundation for years to come by recruiting local funding and community partners. Many community partners, such as The Benson Health Sciences Department and the Parent Teacher Student and Alumni Associations, have already committed themselves to implementing and sustaining the Fit to Live and Learn program to impact the lives of Benson freshmen for years to come.

“The support we have received from the Nike community is overwhelming and feels like a dream come true. It’s a great example of how schools can team up with the community to meet common goals and create a healthier generation for futures to come,” said HealthCorps coordinator Amy Barras.

Barras is one of two Portland area coordinators working with HealthCorps®, an in-school wellness movement founded by Dr. Mehmet Oz and his wife Lisa Oz, to lead a nationwide movement to shape a new generation. Currently, the HealthCorps curriculum is taught in 66 high schools in 14 states and the District of Columbia. At the heart of HealthCorps are the coordinators that spend two years instructing students in lessons focused on mental resilience, nutrition and physical activity. Each coordinator stays at the same school for both years and plans a full year of activities, including participation in classes and taking on innovative in-class and after-school projects such as Fit to Live and Learn and the popular Teen Battle Chef culinary arts program.


About HealthCorps

HealthCorps®, www.healthcorps.org, is a 501 (C) 3 co-founded by Dr. Mehmet Oz, the world-renowned cardiac surgeon and two-time Daytime Emmy® Award-winning host of the two time Daytime Emmy® Award-winning “The Dr. Oz Show”, and his wife, Lisa Oz.  HealthCorps® is building a nationwide movement to shape a new generation. HealthCorps® “Coordinators” carry out unique in-school and community programming targeting high-need populations. Using peer-mentoring to deliver a progressive curriculum in nutrition, fitness and mental strength, HealthCorps® Coordinators give teens purpose, help develop human character, and inspire an interest in health and culinary arts careers. HealthCorps® also serves as a unique research laboratory – exploring the complex, underlying causes of the obesity crisis and discovering and communicating solutions. HealthCorps® is bringing many initiatives together to address the “Whole Child” and activate the students’ mind, body and spirit. As a result, HealthCorps® is transforming the educational paradigm one school at a time. The program network spans 68 schools in 14 states and the District of Columbia. Please follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/healthcorps and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HealthCorps.

The Oregon Community Foundation Nike Employee Grant Fund

Through the Nike Employee Grant Fund, Nike employees work with Oregon Community Foundation to award at least $500,000 per year to local nonprofits. This is Nike’s “backyard” grant program, engaging employees in aiding nonprofits in communities where local Nike employees live – Clackamas, Columbia, Multnomah, Washington and Yamhill counties in Oregon and Clark County in Washington. Grants are one-year awards, between $5,000 and $20,000. Find out more about the grant program and applying for a grant at http://www.oregoncf.org/receive/grants/grant-opportunities/nike/nike-default.

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