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Contact(s):Meg Matthews

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Love Your School Obesity Initiative Launches




Meg Matthews








August 27, 2013


Love Your School to Build on 2011-2013 Pilot Project


What: Launch of Love Your School Anti-Obesity Initiative

When: Wednesday, August 28th – 1:00 p.m.

Where: Carver Elementary – 2100 E. 6th St.

Little Rock, AR, August 27, 2013– The city of Little Rock and the Little Rock School District School District will announce the formal launch of a comprehensive, seven-school childhood obesity initiative entitled Love Your School at a Press Event to be held at 1:00PM CST on Wednesday, August 28th at Carver Elementary School, 2100 East 6th Street, Little Rock, AR  72202.  The event will be held indoors in the entry rotunda of Carver Elementary School.

“This event marks a giant step in our effort to employ Service as a Strategy to address childhood obesity and its underlying causes including, access healthy food such as fresh fruits and vegetables, nutrition education for students and parents, daily physical activity and closing the gap in health disparities in Little Rock” said Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola.  “Service as a Strategy is a partnership between ServiceNation and Cities of Service, the bipartisan coalition of more than 100 mayors who have pledged to work together to expand impact volunteerism,” continued Stodola.

The announcement will follow a Principal Orientation during which Principals of Love Your School Partner Schools will be introduced to more than sixteen (14) interrelated evidence-based programs and the organizations that will support them including The Home Depot; Coca-Cola Refreshments; Heifer International; the University of Central Arkansas Department of Department of Family and Consumer Sciences; the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Department of Nursing; the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance; Central Arkansas Waster; the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement; the Arkansas Department of Health; Southwest Airlines, , Department of Health Policy and Management, F. W. Boozman College of Public Health, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences; the Corporation for National and Community Service; and others.

“The idea we are pursuing is to eliminate childhood obesity by striking at its drivers, the things that make it possible,” said Little Rock Chief Service Officer Michael Drake.  “We address poverty and hunger by introducing nutrition education for K-5 students, community building through community engagement, school-based gardening, youth-led, campus-based farmers markets and a host of interrelated programming that has proven to deliver sustainable health behavior change in children, their families, their neighborhoods and their cities.”

Over the coming year Dietetic Graduate Student Interns from the UCA Department of Family and Consumer Sciences will teach an evidence-based, common-core aligned nutrition curriculum to all students attending the Love Your School Partner Schools.  The curriculum, entitled Grow, Eat, Thrive: Growing Gardens for Health, will be enhanced through the construction of over 300, 3’x10”x12” raised bed gardens placed on the partner school campuses.  Walking trails are being developed on 6 of the 7 campuses and programming for parents, including Cooking Matters for Adults (which was piloted in Arkansas by the Love Your School program during its 2011-2012 Pilot at Western Hills and Martin Luther King, Jr. elementary schools, will be offered at all 7 partner schools.

Little Rock Serves was established in September 2010 as the result of a two-year Cities of Service Leadership Grant - awarded by Cities of Service, with funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Rockefeller Foundation. Little Rock Serves is the flagship organization that provides support and guidance to a variety of Mayoral-led impact service initiatives including:

  • Love Your School-an elementary school-based obesity intervention;
  • LR ROCKS – Reaching Our City through Kids in Service, school-based service clubs;
  • Little Rock Volunteer Park Rangers-A volunteer-led Park Ranger Program in which community members adopt a City Park and provide physical enhancements, nature tours and community awareness efforts;
  • Love Your Block-a block improvement grant program funded by The Home Depot, the City of Little Rock and the Central Arkansas Planning and Development District;
  • Little Rock Healthy Food Access and Active Living Initiative-an initiative that targets Little Rock neighborhoods at highest risk to chronic disease due to poor or limited access to healthy, nutritious and affordable foods and active recreation programs.

Little Rock Serves was awarded a $100,000.00 “Impact Volunteering Fund Grant” by the Fund for Cities (Bloomberg Philanthropies) in 2013 for expanded implementation of its 2013-2015 Love Your School Impact Service initiatives at eight (8) Little Rock School District Partner Schools.  The initiatives will launch in September, 2013.


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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Meg Matthews at 501.371.4421 or email at

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