Michigan Surgeon General Hosts "Generation With Promise" CARE Advisory Statewide Committee Launch

Contact: James McCurtis (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

December 17, 2008

EAST LANSING - Michigan Surgeon General Kimberlydawn Wisdom, M.D., M.S. greeted more than 100 youth development and health experts at the first meeting of the "Generation With Promise" (GWP) Community Advisory Regional Experts (CARE) Statewide Committee. The interactive meeting was held at Michigan State University's Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center in E. Lansing on Monday, December 8. Participants learned how GWP empowers middle school-aged youth in Michigan's Cities of Promise to be peer leaders in making positive health choices around physical activity, nutrition, and tobacco-free lifestyles. The new CARE Statewide Committee members agreed to meet again in spring 2009 plus provide guidance and feedback for GWP in the interim.

"I believe in the young people of our communities so much because I had people believing in me and serving as mentors," said Wisdom. "We are creating models not only for our state but the nation as well."

Two GWP students from Detroit's J.F. Nichols Elementary/Middle School made some other noteworthy remarks. "Our school improved by a milestone because we tried our best to improve the school," said Damian Holmes. "We have learned to become more active and do healthy things," said Diamond Carter. Positive changes at Nichols included having more fruits offered at lunch and having healthy snacks offered at school events. Each GWP school created an action plan with steps in three areas: PE/physical activity, healthy eating, and a tobacco-free lifestyle.

GWP is a $5-million initiative funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and led by Dr. Wisdom and an interdisciplinary team organized by the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH). The project links Governor Jennifer M. Granholm's Cities of Promise initiative in vulnerable communities with MDCH and the "Michigan Steps Up" healthy lifestyles initiative. The three-year project will empower and support Student Action Teams to be actively involved in making decisions, planning actions, prioritizing needs and promoting new opportunities for students to make healthy choices.

In addition to the Cities of Promise, other partners with MDCH for GWP are the Governor's Council on Physical Fitness, Health & Sports/Michigan Fitness Foundation, Michigan Department of Education, Michigan Action for Healthy Kids, Cities of Promise, local health departments, the Michigan State University Extension, University of Michigan and Wayne State University.

In its second year, GWP's 16 Level I participating schools include Benton Harbor's Fair Plain Renaissance and Hull Middle Schools; Detroit's Burns Elementary/Middle School, Greenfield Union Elementary/Middle School, Hutchins/McMichael Elementary, J.F. Nichols Elementary/Middle School, Mark Twain School & Academy, Murphy Elementary/Middle School, Peter Vetal Elementary/Middle School, Phoenix Multicultural Academy, Ronald McNair Technical Middle School, Taft Middle School, Trix Elementary/Middle School; Hamtramck's Kosciuszko Middle School; Highland Park's Barber School of the Gifted and Talented, and Pontiac's Madison Middle School. In addition, 11 schools were awarded mini-grants for the 2008-09 school year. The project currently serves more than 10,000 students and adult leaders in 27 schools. It will expand in year three to include more Cities of Promise schools in a competitive funding process. For more information, visit www.michiganstepsup.org.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation was established in 1930 "to help people help themselves through the practical application of knowledge and resources to improve their quality of life and that of future generations". The Foundation targets its grants toward specific areas, including health, food systems and rural development, youth and education, and philanthropy and voluntarism. Grants are concentrated in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the southern African countries of Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe. For further information, please visit the foundation's Web site at www.wkkf.org.