Earlier this year, Aera Energy challenged our community to support health and wellness programs in VUSD schools by matching donations totaling $5,000 to VEP for teacher grants. The challenge was a success and combined with funding from Mountains 2 Beach Marathon, Ventura Education Partnership made grants totaling $21,000 for 7 individual grants and 7 group grants.
“During COVID VEP has offered grants in a streamlined way. Individual teachers were able to apply for $500 for health/wellness projects. Groups of educators working together to impact larger numbers of students were able to apply for $2500,” said Madhu Bajaj, President of Ventura Education Partnership.
Funded projects include culinary explorations to teach good nutrition and healthy eating, mindfulness activities, physical exercise equipment like yoga and pickleball, sensory gardens and much more.
Sierra Meyers, Ventura High Physical Education Teacher applied for and received funding for hoola hoops to social distance, jump ropes, fitness bands, and other fun PE equipment that can be used outdoors. Meyers said, “Receiving the grant means that my physical education students have an opportunity to try equipment & innovative activities outside the normal tradition sports. The grant gives my students a fun, safe, creative & health benefiting workout in a socially distanced environment.”
“As a member of the review team, it was exciting to see the innovative ways VUSD teachers are looking to engage students to improve the health and wellness,” said Michele Newell, Aera public affairs. “During the pandemic Aera has focused greatly on employee mental and physical health. It is part of our exceptional care for people. So, partnering with VEP and local teachers in this effort is not out of the norm for us. These grants provide VUSD students the means to get exactly what they need to be healthier inside and out. That is a wise investment in our future.”
More information on VEP and the complete list of grant recipients can be found at: http://www.venturaeducationpartnership.org/Health-Wellness