Amerigroup Sponsors FirstLine Schools’ Gardening and Culinary Program at Arthur Ashe Charter School in New Orleans to Promote Whole Child Wellness and Healthier Communities

NEW ORLEANS--()--The Amerigroup Foundation has provided a $10,000 grant to FirstLine Schools to sponsor its Edible Schoolyard New Orleans (ESYNOLA) signature program and to promote whole child wellness through food and nutrition education. Amerigroup’s grant is being directed to Arthur Ashe Charter School, where it will be used to support the school’s garden-based culinary and health education programs. The school operates a one-acre garden and teaching kitchen that hosts student- and family-driven seed-to-table events as well as greenhouse plant starts for all five FirstLine Schools.

“Amerigroup is proud to support FirstLine Schools’ nutrition and health education programs to further our impact on creating long-term solutions for the complex health challenges that plague our state,” said Virginia Plaisance, COO of Amerigroup Louisiana. “Together, we can be successful in influencing healthy behaviors and building better, healthier futures for all of our residents.”

ESYNOLA’s hands-on gardening and culinary classes inspire children and youth to make healthy connections through food at FirstLine’s four K-8s and one high school: Arthur Ashe Charter School, Samuel J. Green Charter School, Langston Hughes Academy, Phillis Wheatley Community School and Joseph S. Clark Preparatory High School. Collectively, the schools offer more than 4,000 curriculum-based gardening and kitchen classes each year, and sponsor more than 80 annual community events to teach children and their families how to take responsibility for the land, their community and their own nourishment.

“Children who grow their own food are more likely to consume fresh produce at higher rates than their peers, so our programming at Arthur Ashe aligns with Amerigroup’s multigenerational focus on improving health outcomes of communities through innovative interventions and education,” said Claudia Barker, FirstLine School’s chief development officer and executive director of ESYNOLA. “ESYNOLA’s work allows students to grow, prepare and enjoy fresh, seasonal food, establishing habits that will last through adulthood.”

Amerigroup’s funding will help support several of the school’s ESYNOLA efforts, including:

  • Kindergarten Food ABCs, an educational program that teaches children to eat their way through the alphabet while learning phonics and vocabulary.
  • Family Food Nights, community events where students and their families cook healthy meals together in the school’s teaching kitchen.
  • Arthur Ashe’s signature Annual Sweet Potato Fest, a grand celebration of the children’s schoolyard garden harvest and demonstration of healthy cooking.
  • Garden-science classes that take place under the Ruth U. Fertel Pavilion, a recently opened outdoor environmental science classroom; and in the Emeril Lagasse Foundation Greenhouse, where students cultivate plant starts to supply more than two acres of gardens that span across FirstLine’s other schools in New Orleans.

About the Amerigroup Foundation

The Amerigroup Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Amerigroup, a wholly owned subsidiary of Anthem, Inc. Together, with local, regional and national organizations, the Amerigroup Foundation works to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that Amerigroup and its affiliated health plans serve. Amerigroup Foundation funding is focused on strategic initiatives working to address and provide innovative solutions to health care challenges, as well as promoting the Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative with five areas of focus: Healthy Heart, Cancer Prevention, Healthy Maternal Practices, Type 2 Diabetes Prevention, and Healthy Active Lifestyle. These disease states and medical conditions include: prenatal care in the first trimester, low birth weight babies, cardiac morbidity rates, long term activities that decrease obesity and increase physical activity, diabetes prevalence in adult populations, adult pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations and smoking cessation. The Foundation also coordinates the company’s year-round Associate Giving program which provides a 50 percent match of associates’ campaign pledges, as well as its Volunteer Time Off and Dollars for Doers community service programs. To learn more about the Amerigroup Foundation, please visit www.anthem.foundation.

About FirstLine Schools

The mission of FirstLine Schools is to create and inspire great open enrollment public schools in New Orleans. FirstLine currently operates Samuel J. Green Charter School, Arthur Ashe Charter School, Phillis Wheatley Community School, Langston Hughes Academy, and Joseph S. Clark Preparatory High School. For more information, please visit www.firstlineschools.org.

About Edible Schoolyard New Orleans

Edible Schoolyard New Orleans (ESYNOLA) is a comprehensive seed-to-table food education program that aims to change the way children eat, learn, and live at FirstLine public charter schools. The program offers hands-on gardening and kitchen classes that are integrated into the curriculum, culture, and cafeteria programs at the schools it serves. Founded in 2006, ESYNOLA is in its eleventh year of operation and serves 3,100 students in grades pre-K through 12th grade across the FirstLine Schools network. For more information, please visit www.esynola.org.

Contacts

Denise Malecki, Amerigroup
813-830-6986
denise.malecki@amerigroup.com
or
Dominique Harris, FirstLine Schools
504-267-9041
dharris@firstlineschools.org

Release Summary

The Amerigroup Foundation provides grant to FirstLine Schools to sponsor garden-based culinary and health education programs at Arthur Ashe Charter School in New Orleans, La.

Contacts

Denise Malecki, Amerigroup
813-830-6986
denise.malecki@amerigroup.com
or
Dominique Harris, FirstLine Schools
504-267-9041
dharris@firstlineschools.org