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Oakhurst Dairy Awards First Living Natural Goodness School Grant to Bath Middle School

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PORTLAND, MAINE — March 16, 2012 — Oakhurst Dairy, northern New England’s largest independent family-owned dairy company, announced today it is awarding its first “Living Natural Goodness” School Grant totaling $4,000 to Bath Middle School located in Bath, Maine. Recently, Oakhurst partnered with Fuel Up to Play 60, a nationwide program launched by the National Dairy Council (NDC) and the National Football League (NFL) with the goal of empowering students to help create their own nutrition and physical activity programs. Oakhurst has committed to awarding grants totaling $10,000 to schools in New England participating in the Fuel Up to Play 60 program.

“Bath Middle is thrilled to be the recipient of Oakhurst Dairy’s first “Living Natural Goodness” school grant,” said Principal Louis Solebello. “During this time when funding is being reduced, it’s great to see a local company like Oakhurst support our school’s efforts to help students be active and healthy.”

With the funding from Oakhurst Dairy, Bath Middle School students, lead by its National Junior Honor Society and Student Council members in collaboration with Diana Hixon, the school nurse and the BMS Wellness Team, plans to implement two programs to encourage healthy eating. The first, a program called “Tantalize this Space,” involves a makeover of the school’s multipurpose cafeteria. In the new space, the students will host theme days with coordinating healthy entrees, and create a new, dynamic information center to provide nutrition facts, updates on school and wellness activities, highlight the week’s healthy food options, and host nutrition and fitness trivia contests designed by the students themselves. And in an effort to offer students healthier snack options, funds will support supply needs for the “After School Snack Shack” program where students sell fresh fruit smoothies and healthy snacks to their peers.

In an effort to increase physical activity options for students, the school has developed unique programs and plans to improve existing ones with funds from the grant. The first, called “Game On,” is an expansion of the current physical activity room filled with fun motor activities like ping pong and Wii dance and sporting games that teachers can use for team building activities, and as a class reward or alternate recess. New games such as air hockey and foosball will be added and the room’s purpose expanded to support after-school wellness activities and tournaments. “Inside Out” is an initiative that will create functional recess and activity areas. The school will turn an existing parking lot into an outdoor recess area with basketball hoops, four square courts, a gaga court (similar to dodgeball) and equip it with jump ropes, hula hoops and an assortment of balls. Finally, the students will purchase equipment for inside recess activities including Lunchtime Limbo as well as electronic dance and sporting games.

“The students at Bath Middle School have created some exciting ways to make good nutrition and regular exercise a part of their daily routine and we’re delighted to help make their plans a reality,” said Bill Bennett, President and CEO, Oakhurst Dairy. “We wish them great success and hope other schools will learn from their creativity, enthusiasm and dedication.”

The Maine Dairy and Nutrition Council reviewed applications from state schools for the Oakhurst “Living Natural Goodness” School Grants and Bath Middle School was selected based on its plans to create ways to increase access to healthy, nutrient-rich foods and physical activity participation as well as raise awareness.

“The Fuel Up to Play 60 Program is unique because it involves students directly in the development of school nutrition and physical activity programs,” said Katie Hoffmann of the Maine Dairy and Nutrition Council. “We’ve seen that these types of student-designed programs have more staying power because of the investment the children make in creating them.” 

Educators, students, parents and others committed to their local schools are encouraged to submit an application. Interested individuals can learn more about Oakhurst “Living Natural Goodness” School grants by visiting www.oakhurstdairy.com.

About Fuel Up to Play 60

Fuel Up to Play 60 is an in-school nutrition and physical activity program launched by National Dairy Council (NDC) and National Football League (NFL), with additional partnership support from U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The program encourages youth to consume nutrient-rich foods (low-fat and fat-free dairy, fruits, vegetables and whole grains) and achieve at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day.

Fuel Up to Play 60 is designed to engage and empower youth to take action for their own health by implementing long-term, positive changes for themselves and their schools. Customizable and non-prescriptive program components are grounded in research with youth, including tools and resources, in-school promotional materials, a website and student challenges. Fuel Up to Play 60 is further supported by several health and nutrition organizations: Action for Healthy Kids, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, National Hispanic Medical Association, National Medical Association and School Nutrition Association. Visit FuelUpToPlay60.com to learn more.

About Oakhurst Dairy

Oakhurst is northern New England’s truly local brand of milk. As the region’s largest independent family-owned dairy company, Oakhurst is committed to the health and wellbeing of the community and the environment. For 90 years and three generations, the Bennett family has stood behind every glass of Oakhurst milk, while contributing 10% of profits to local organizations through their Living Natural Goodness program to support healthy kids and a healthy environment – just another reason to choose Oakhurst, The Natural Goodness of Maine. For more information, visit www.oakhurstdairy.com.

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