Tuesday, November 4, 2014

CATCH's Visit to Tijuana

The CATCH program and CATCH Global Foundation continue to spread our message of child health throughout the globe. This month, CATCH Executive Director Duncan Van Dusen and Dr. Andrew Springer of the UT School of Public Health traveled to Tijuana for a visit to determine how the CATCH program might be integrated into five local schools there.
Representatives from Tijuana, including Mayor Astiazarán

Mr. Van Dusen and Dr. Springer were joined by CATCH researchers from the University California at San Diego, as well as representatives of the Tijuana government, including the Secretaries of Social Development and Health, as well as the mayor of Tijuana, Dr. Jorge Astiazarán Orci. Mayor Astiazarán is a certified medical doctor himself, and understands the importance of child health for long-term prosperity in his community.

The delegation visited two elementary schools in Tijuana, where they observed PE classes, visited snack concession booths within schools, and spoke with school principals. The visit concluded in a trip to the mayor’s office, where Dr. Springer spoke at length about how CATCH has worked to help address childhood obesity in partnership with communities around the US.

The government is in the process of assessing how CATCH might impact five schools in Tijuana, all managed by the local government. However, Mr. Van Dusen states that he was very impressed with the interest displayed by all levels of Mexican authorities in attendance. "There was also representation from the national government in our meeting with the mayor, and I was struck by their impressive interest in the health of Tijuana's children and the CATCH program overall," he says.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Contest: How is your cafeteria promoting healthy eating?

We at CATCH have received word recently that many incredible teachers, administrators, and cafeteria staff have been going out of their way to make their cafeterias healthy eating zones. We could not be more excited by some of these photos we've seen of teachers dressed in healthy eating costumes, cafeterias labeled with "Go, Slow and Whoa" signage, and so much more.

Has your school gotten creative in making your cafeteria healthy eating friendly? We would love to hear about it! Send us your photos with a short description (300 words or less) of how you've transformed your cafeteria. We'll be sharing great entries on our blog, and the best submission will receive a $100 gift card to spend on supplies for the cafeteria!

Friday, October 24, 2014

CATCH Champions: Inese Alvarez and RSVP of Summit County

Inese w/ CATCH Program Assistant Hillary
Inese Alvarez is the Director of the Mature Services RSVP Volunteer Program of Summit and Medina Counties in Ohio. She has many responsibilities for RSVP, but one of her favorites is getting to help implement CATCH programming for children in the community every summer.

Funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service, RSVP is one of the largest volunteer networks in the nation for people 55 and over. In Summit County, RSVP volunteers provide service and support to a variety of nonprofit organizations addressing important issue areas such as helping seniors remain independent in their own homes, tutoring and mentoring programs and health and wellness promotion programs. One health promotion program that has caught on big with the RSVP Volunteers is the CATCH program. RSVP volunteers and University of Akron students have teamed up to bring the CATCH program to a variety of locations in the Akron, Ohio area.

This past summer, a team of 8 RSVP volunteers and university students presented the CATCH lessons surrounding a summertime lunch program at an Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority property. After noticing that bored kids would line up an hour early just to get their lunch, the volunteers arranged to lead children in physical activity for 45 minutes before lunchtime. After lunch, children stayed around to learn lessons about healthy nutrition and prepare some healthy snacks to take home.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

New Partnership Launch in Los Fresnos CISD

LFCISD Teachers enjoying lunch, donated by Subway
This week was the official launch of our partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) to bring CATCH to Los Fresnos CISD.

"This grant will help the health and wellness programs in our schools, which will be a tremendous benefit our elementary and middle school students," said Los Fresnos CISD Superintendent Gonzalo Salazar.

On Wednesday October 22, CATCH held an all-day workshop for district administrators and physical education teachers.  Representatives from BCBSTX were also on hand to celebrate this new partnership.

Los Fresnos teachers training in CATCH
CATCH Global Foundation's Executive Director Duncan Van Dusen was especially impressed by the community action he saw in Los Fresnos. "CATCH's Coordinated School Health model works best when the entire community works together--teachers, administrators, healthcare. What we've seen at this launch in Los Fresnos proves that the whole community is at the ready to coordinate, and to change kids' lives. We're so excited to see what sort of change this program makes."

Peter Cribb, who got to provide a training to the teachers of Los Fresnos in August, said that he found the community and the program in Los Fresnos to be special. "The communities are involved with the schools here. It's very exciting. CATCH really gets to become part of the environment!"

CATCH and Los Fresnos CISD are very grateful to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas for making this program possible!

From Left to right, John Ramos of BCBSTX, Duncan Van Dusen of CATCH Global Foundation, Annice Garza of Los Fresnos CISD, and CATCH Trainer John Krampitz

OASIS's "CATCH Healthy Habits" Series Makes Hollywood Adorable (and Health Friendly!)

Our friends at OASIS are starting on a six week journey to improve the habits of children in their communities! The "CATCH Healthy Habits" campaign, which has engaged over 3,000 adult volunteers aged 50+, will impact the lives of 16,700 children, leading them to healthier decision making for a lifetime.

The CATCH Healthy Habits campaign includes a series of hollywood-inspired videos of children making healthy decisions. Characters like young "Forest Jump" re-do favorite movie scenes, so that the leads are making healthy choices! See the video below to catch Rocky taking a punch at "Whoa Foods."

OASIS is a non-profit organization, founded in 1982, whose mission is to promote successful aging through a three-fold approach: lifelong learning, healthy living and social engagement. Since 2011, over 16,000 kids have adopted healthier lifestyles due to OASIS volunteers. For every one adult volunteer, an average of 6 kids are impacted.

OASIS has also put together free healthy living guides for adults and families, which offer practical tips on how to make healthier decisions on a daily basis!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

CATCH Global Foundation Receives Grant from BCBSTX to Improve Kids' Health by Implementing Community-Based School Health Program in Los Fresnos CISD

Austin, TX (10/16/14) – The CATCH Global Foundation announced today that it received a grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) through its “Healthy Kids, Healthy Families” initiative.

“Our commitment to improving child health through the implementation of the CATCH coordinated school health program fits perfectly with the BCBSTX Healthy Kids, Healthy Families program vision to help improve the health of youth in local communities,” said CATCH Global Foundation Executive Director Duncan Van Dusen. “We are very honored that the first grant we received after our formation this year involves partnering with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas to serve 7,500 children in Los Fresnos schools.”

Healthy Kids, Healthy Families began as a three-year initiative aiming to pull together local, state and national resources in an effort to make a significant impact on childhood health and wellness. Now HKHF is a signature initiative of BCBSTX and part of its ongoing commitment to invest in Texas communities.  Likewise, the CATCH Global Foundation links underserved communities to the funds and resources necessary to implement the CATCH program. CATCH is already improving the health of children 10,000 schools worldwide. All parties involved are excited to see the impact CATCH has on the community in Los Fresnos.

“We’re proud to give our support to the CATCH Global Foundation as a Healthy Kids, Healthy Families partner,” said Catherine Oliveros, Director, Community Affairs, BCBSTX. “Through its work, we expect to see measurable improvement in children’s health in Los Fresnos CISD. CATCH will be working with the schools and communities to build capacity through the implementation of their coordinated school health model.”

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

CATCH/Sioux YMCA Project Featured at Global Gathering

The Sioux YMCA Initiative is a partnership between the YMCAs of Greater Twin Cities (YGTC) in Minnesota and the Sioux YMCA in South Dakota. Each summer, the YGTC selects participants from local and national partner YMCAs, provides them with extensive training and coordinates their 15-day service trips in order to provide greater services to six remote communities on the Cheyenne River Reservation for over 12 weeks each summer.

Youth on the Cheyenne River Reservation face stark health challenges, including an extremely high prevalence of youth obesity and diabetes. To combat these disparities, the Sioux YMCA and the YGTC have collaborated with the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board’s Childhood Obesity Prevention Program to implement CATCH as the official Sioux YMCA Initiative youth program of 2013 and 2014. By partnering with local schools and other youth-serving agencies on the Cheyenne River Reservation also implementing CATCH, young people are receiving holistic support to enhance their physical activity and increase positive nutrition behaviors.