Rye YMCA Awards Grants For Port Chester School Gardens

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Garden programs in the Port Chester schools received a grant from the Rye YMCA. Photo Credit: Contributed

PORT CHESTER, N.Y. -- The Port Chester Schools Board of Education recently voted to accept $4,500 from the Rye YMCA for garden programs. 

The money will help support edible gardens at JFK Magnet School, Thomas A. Edison Community School and Port Chester Middle School. Each of the grant recipients submitted an application outlining their goals for outdoor classrooms, where students could learn not only about gardening, but also about science, math, English language arts and technology in a hands-on setting, school officials said.

The Rye YMCA is encouraging schools to engage students in discussions about access to nutritious, affordable food and to consider any inequalities in their own communities, representatives said. 

JFK Magnet School is incorporating the STEM curriculum (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) into the students' work in the garden as well as teaching nutrition education. The money awarded will be used to maintain the program during the summer of 2014.

Thomas A. Edison Community School will develop a garden from the ground up that will complement Edison’s partnership with Open Door Family Medical Center, which provides health services within the school, by offering fresh produce and nutrition education to students and families.

The Rye YMCA will work in collaboration with a national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Community Transformation Grant to seek to create healthier communities by making healthy living easier and more affordable where people work, live, learn and play.

“JFK’s garden has been a success because of the hard work of our students, staff and families and the support of our community partners," said JFK Principal Louis Cuglietto. "We are delighted to be collaborating with the Rye Y to further develop our garden program. On behalf of everyone in our school community, thank you!”

“We believe that school gardens embody the spirit of the Community Transformation Grant, allowing children and youth to make the “seed to table” connection, learn about nutrition, engage in physical activity and develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime," said Rye Y Executive Director Gregg Howells. "We’re delighted to be able to support school gardens in Port Chester, knowing they will make a positive difference in the lives of children and their families.”

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