Peru State College
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News Release

Peru State partners with Auburn Family Health, Calvert Elementary to promote healthy living


(Peru, Neb.) Around 170 Calvert Elementary students in Auburn will spend the next 14 weeks learning about healthy living, thanks to a grant from United Health HEROES program and a partnership between Peru State College (PSC), Auburn Public Schools and Auburn Family Health Center, P.C. 


Developed by Assistant Professor of Education and Initiative Coordinator Dr. Kyle Ryan and Assistant Professor of Business Sheri Grotrian-Ryan, the Children’s Health, Activity & Nutrition Community Engagement (CHANCE) Initiative is a pilot study that will feature 14 weeks of activities and educational lessons. It will involve an in-depth examination of the Harvard Food Plate, as well as social-norms messaging and how children respond. A variety of PSC student groups will be involved in the study, including Physical Education, Activity & Kinesiology Students (PEAKS), Phi Beta Lambda (a state and national business fraternity) and the business promotions class.


The CHANCE Initiative will kick-off with a brief ceremony and activities at 2 p.m. tomorrow, Tuesday, Jan. 17 in the Calvert Elementary Multipurpose Room. PSC President Dan Hanson, First Lady Elaine Hanson, Auburn Mayor Scott Kudrna, Calvert Elementary Principal Sharon Pollard and Auburn Family Health Center Practice Manager Kimberly Kruger are scheduled to attend, along with key PSC faculty and students.


Ryan said, “Most childhood obesity studies have focused on urban areas; very few have examined obesity rates in rural America. In Nebraska, the mechanization of farming has, in many cases, led to more sedentary lifestyles. That notion, coupled with a lack of access to fitness facilities and nutrition programming, indicate potential for a dramatic difference in obesity rates in urban and rural areas.


“The goal of the CHANCE Initiative is to encourage healthier lifestyles among area children and their families by creating awareness and educating them about better choices. It’s also a wonderful opportunity for our students to put what they have learned in the classroom into practice while serving the community. I want to thank Calvert Elementary School and Auburn Family Health Center for partnering with us in this important endeavor. I encourage anyone who wants to know more to contact me at 402-872-2263 or”


The United Health HEROES program is a service-learning, health literacy initiative developed by United Healthcare and Youth Serve America. The program awards grants to help youth, ages 5-25, create and implement local, hands-on programs to fight childhood obesity.


Each grant engages participating youth in service-learning, an effective teaching and learning strategy that supports student learning, academic achievement and workplace readiness. The grants encourage semester-long projects that launch on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service and culminate on Global Youth Service Day in April.


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