On Tuesday September 25th, the New England Patriots Foundation and New England Dairy & Food Council showed their continued commitment to child health and wellness by awarding Dennis C. Haley Pilot School with a $10,000 Hometown Grant. The funds will be used towards enhancing the K-8 school’s wellness environment through health focused-initiatives and the Fuel Up to Play 60 program.
The school held a Hometown Grant celebration that kicked off with the arrival of New England Patriots players Derek Rivers #95, Dwayne Allen #83, Deatrich Wise Jr. #91, Adam Butler #70, Patriots and Pro Football Hall of Famer Andre Tippett, Patriot cheerleaders, and Pat Patriot on a team bus. Following that, the $10,0000 check was presented at a school-wide assembly.
During the assembly, students heard from a variety of guests, including Tippett, Haley Pilot Principal Kathleen Sullivan, Massachusetts Dairy Farmer Sharon Kimball from Cherry Hill Farm in Lunenburg, Executive Director of Food and Nutrition Services at Boston Public Schools Laura Benavidez and New England Dairy & Food Council’s Director of Youth Wellness Programs Erin Wholey.
“We know many children are lacking in getting the nutrition and physical activity they need to succeed, but all kids deserve a chance at a healthy lifestyle. That’s why the Hometown Grant program is a priority for the New England Patriots,” said Tippett. “It is critical that schools and communities work together to empower students to make healthy choices and to provide solutions to support health and wellness initiatives in schools.”
Following the assembly, students rotated through fun and engaging team-building and physical activities, some of which were led by the guests, like the football relay led by the Patriots players, and “Moo or False” trivia led by Massachusetts dairy farmer Sharon Kimball.
“Today the New England Patriots demonstrated their commitment to Fuel Up to Play 60, a program funded by the dairy farmers in our region for almost 10 years.” said Kimball. “Knowing we have their support to make a difference in the lives of students and their communities, by increasing opportunities for physical activity and nutritious foods in school, is a reminder that the work we’re doing is so important.”
The excitement of the students and staff at Haley Pilot school was palpable during the day’s events.
“We are excited to become involved with Fuel Up to Play 60 here because student leadership is an important part of our values. With this grant we can further support our school wellness goals and engage our students in the process,” said Principal Sullivan.
The Hometown Grant program was created by Fuel Up to Play 60 and the National Football League (NFL) to identify deserving schools and assist them in reaching their wellness goals. Developed by National Dairy Council, local Dairy Councils, and National Football League, in collaboration with United States Department of Agriculture, the Fuel Up to Play 60 program is the nation’s largest in-school and student-driven wellness program reaching nearly 74,000 schools – more than 3,500 of those are right here in New England. For more information about Fuel Up to Play 60 in New England, follow New England Dairy & Food Council on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and visit NewEnglandDairyCouncil.org.