Native American kids learn about humanity

YETI club members at the Tulalip Boys & Girls Club.
YETI club members at the Tulalip Boys & Girls Club.

Article by Jeannie Briones and Kim Kalliber; photos by Jeannie Briones, Tulalip News Staff

The Tulalip Boys & Girls Club has incorporated a new program into their learning curriculum. YETI (Youth Education To Inspire) Tribal is an Internet-based club designed to help children explore their bodies and emotions, and learn about the wonders of humanity. What’s more, these children will be connecting with others around the Northwest via the Internet.

Kids in the YETI club, guided by adult supervision, make a fun-filled journey with children from other cultures, learning the complexity of the human body. The age group ranges from 2nd to 4th grade, and the club currently consists of kids from Tulalip and other reservations located in Spokane, Wash., Warm Springs, Or., and Lapwai, Idaho. Tulalip YETI clubbers meet every Wednesday at the Boys and Girls Club, from 3:30 p.m.- 4:30 p.m., to engage in online conversations and activities, along with arts and crafts and games in the Club’s Immersion Room.

These live chats engage kids from all over the Northwest to help each other understand who they are and learn to respect themselves, others, and other cultures, in a safe and non-judgmental environment.

“I like everything about it. We are getting kids together around the Northwest and different reservations to talk about what they like and what they don’t like, and they learn about their bodies, minds, and feelings. What I hope is that this program expands across the entire country. It’s a very good program. So far we are in our second week and the kids love it, they’re having a blast,” said Jay Davis, Tulalip Boys & Girls Club Yeti Club Facilitator and Games Room Coordinator.

Jay, along with Christina Gahringer, Director of Education Technology, for the Club, are currently working with the kids on body exploration. Kids are learning about their bodies and the functions of body organs, such as the heart, lungs, stomach and brain. Students then create a life-size drawing of their bodies, coloring in their inside parts. By learning bodily functions, kids can learn to better appreciate their bodies and to respect them.

“I like learning about the body parts,” said Tulalip Boys & Girls Club member Eian Williams.

YETI club members will also be learning about emotions, such as happy, sad, angry or scared, and the affect they can have on the body. Kids will explore the physical sources and reactions of emotions.

As a whole, YETI is designed to help kids to gain a sense of personal appreciation, to see themselves in others and gain patience and understanding in their relationships, now and in the future.

The YETI Tribal Club is a part of Wholeschool, a non-profit educational organization, started in Spokane, Washington. YETI also operates with support from Tulalip Tribes Charitable Funds.

To learn more about the YETI Club, contact Jay or Christina at the Tulalip Boys & Girls Club at 360-716-340 or visit

Volunteers needed for Walk MS 2013 at Tulalip

TULALIP — If you can volunteer to check in or cheer on walkers, or pass out food, you can help people living with multiple sclerosis on Saturday, April 13, when the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Greater Northwest Chapter, conducts its annual Walk MS in Snohomish County.

The Chapter is looking for volunteers — individuals and groups alike — for the event, which begins at 9 a.m. at the Tulalip Amphitheatre, located at 10400 Quil Ceda Blvd. in Tulalip.

Funds raised by this year’s Walk MS will support direct services for the more than 12,000 people living with MS — as well as their families — in Alaska, Montana, and Western and Central Washington. Proceeds also fund national MS research, to find new treatments and a cure for this chronic disease of the central nervous system.

“Volunteers are the backbone of this event,” Chapter President Patty Shepherd-Barnes said. “People can help with planning weeks before the Walk, as well as by setting up during the weekend, registering walkers, monitoring the route, and cleaning up or cheering on walkers. There is a place for everyone’s time and talents.”

For more information or to volunteer for Walk MS 2013, contact Volunteer Coordinator Cara Chamberlin of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Greater Northwest Chapter, by phone at 800-344-4867 — press 2, then dial 40205 — or via email at You can also log onto

Marysville teen organizing Relay for Life fundraiser

Kayla Dowd, 16, a junior at the International School of Communications at Marysville Getchell High School, is the volunteer public relations organizer for the upcoming Marysville-Tulalip Relay for Life fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. The event will be held the last weekend of June. Photo:Genna Martin, The Herald
Kayla Dowd, 16, a junior at the International School of Communications at Marysville Getchell High School, is the volunteer public relations organizer for the upcoming Marysville-Tulalip Relay for Life fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. The event will be held the last weekend of June. Photo:
Genna Martin, The Herald

Marysville student is organizing fundraising event for her community

By Gale Fiege, Herald Writer,

MARYSVILLE — Raising money for the American Cancer Society is a major focus of volunteer efforts in Snohomish County. During May, June and July, there are 10 Relay For Life fundraisers scheduled.

Marysville Getchell High School junior Kayla Dowd is one of the hundreds of people planning the Marysville-Tulalip event and those elsewhere.

Kayla, 16, is the public relations chairwoman for the relay. As a student in the International School of Communications at Marysville Getchell, Kayla hopes to use some of her new-found writing and speaking skills to let people know about the fundraiser.

The Marysville-Tulalip Relay for Life, like all the other relays, is an overnight event during which teams of people take turns walking or running laps around the field. Each team keeps a member on the track at all times. Relay for Life celebrates those who have survived cancer, helps people whose loved ones have died from cancer, raises money for cancer research and encourages people to fight cancer in their own lives, Kayla said.

Last year, the Marysville-Tulalip relay had 50 teams, honored 100 survivors and raised about $155,000. This year, organizers have set a goal to honor 150 survivors, involve 80 teams and raise $200,000.

“I think we can do it,” Kayla said. “Interest is growing each year. I’m involved because I’m one of those people whose life has been touched by cancer.”

A few years ago, Kayla lost her maternal great-grandmother to cervical cancer. Then her grandfather, Pat Dowd, 67, of Smokey Point, was diagnosed with stage-four lung cancer.

“He overcame that, but two months ago we learned that my grandpa has brain cancer. Recently we found out that his tumor has gotten a little smaller,” she said. “So, this has been a journey of ups and downs for my family. Grandpa is so dear to my heart. He is a go-getter and a role model for me. The money we raise at this remarkable event can help keep alive mothers, fathers, grandparents, sisters, brothers and friends.”

Kayla leads her own Relay for Life team of elementary school-age students, who raised $1,200 last year. When not working on fundraising, Kayla spends Tuesdays after school helping at the food bank in Marysville. She hopes to attend Washington State University and would like to study to be a nurse.

Raising awareness about cancer research in the state and Cancer Society services to cancer patients is big part of her job, Kayla said.

And Kayla’s just right for the task, said Kristin Banfield, the chairwoman of the Marysville-Tulalip Relay for Life. In her day job, Banfield is the public information officer for the city of Arlington.

“It’s really exciting to see a young woman, a teenager, stepping up in her community,” Banfield said. “This is a great experience for Kayla and we’re already getting a lot of good work out of her.”

Kayla said she is happy to help with Relay for Life.

“It’s a worthwhile thing, because everywhere you look, there is cancer,” Kayla said.

USDA Proposes Standards to Provide Healthy Food Options in Schools

Release No. 0019.13
Office of Communications (202) 720-4623

  New “Smart Snacks in School” proposal to ensure vending machines, snack bars include healthy choices

WASHINGTON, Feb. 1, 2013 – USDA today announced the public comment period has opened on proposed new standards to ensure that children have access to healthy food options in school.

“Parents and teachers work hard to instill healthy eating habits in our kids, and these efforts should be supported when kids walk through the schoolhouse door,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Good nutrition lays the groundwork for good health and academic success. Providing healthy options throughout school cafeterias, vending machines, and snack bars will complement the gains made with the new, healthy standards for school breakfast and lunch so the healthy choice is the easy choice for our kids.”

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 requires USDA to establish nutrition standards for all foods sold in schools — beyond the federally-supported school meals programs. The “Smart Snacks in School” proposed rule, to be published soon in the Federal Register, is the first step in the process to create national standards. The new proposed standards draw on recommendations from the Institute of Medicine, existing voluntary standards already implemented by thousands of schools around the country, and healthy food and beverage offerings already available in the marketplace.

Highlights of USDA’s proposal include:

  • More of the foods we should encourage. Promoting availability of healthy snack foods with whole grains, low fat dairy, fruits, vegetables or protein foods as their main ingredients.
  • Less of the foods we should avoid. Ensuring that snack food items are lower in fat, sugar, and sodium and provide more of the nutrients kids need.
  • Targeted standards. Allowing variation by age group for factors such as beverage portion size and caffeine content.
  • Flexibility for important traditions. Preserving the ability for parents to send in bagged lunches of their choosing or treats for activities such as birthday parties, holidays, and other celebrations; and allowing schools to continue traditions like occasional fundraisers and bake sales.
  • Reasonable limitations on when and where the standards apply. Ensuring that standards only affect foods that are sold on school campus during the school day. Foods sold at an afterschool sporting event or other activity will not be subject to these requirements.
  • Flexibility for state and local communities. Allowing significant local and regional autonomy by only establishing minimum requirements for schools. States and schools that have stronger standards than what is being proposed will be able to maintain their own policies.
  • Significant transition period for schools and industry. The standards will not go into effect until at least one full school year after public comment is considered and an implementing rule is published to ensure that schools and vendors have adequate time to adapt.

The public is encouraged to review the proposal and to provide comments and information for consideration by USDA. The text of the proposed rule is available at . Once the rule is published in the Federal Register, which is expected next week, the public will be able to provide feedback through USDA will seek public comment on the proposal for 60 days.

Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a report that analyzed state policies for food and beverages served outside the school lunch line which noted that 39 states already have a state law, regulation or policy in place related to the sale or availability of snack foods and beverages in schools. In many cases, local level (district and school) policies and practices exceeded state requirements or recommendations. USDA’s proposal would establish a national baseline of these standards, with the overall goal of improving the health and nutrition of our kids.

These proposed standards are part of a bi-partisan package of changes passed by Congress in 2010 designed to ensure that students have healthy options in school. Other parts of that package include updated nutrition standards for federally-subsidized school meals that provide children more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; additional funding for schools to support improved meals; and guidance on stronger local wellness policies.

Collectively these policies will help combat child hunger and obesity and improve the health and nutrition of the nation’s children; a top priority for the Obama Administration. The proposed rule announced today is an important component of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative to combat the challenge of childhood obesity.

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service administers America’s nutrition assistance programs including the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs, the Summer Food Service Program, and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Together these programs make up the federal nutrition safety net.

For more information on the proposed rule, visit:


USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).

New case of measles confirmed in Issaquah

By KING 5 News

Posted on January 30, 2013 at 8:45 PM

There’s a health warning for anyone with ties to Tiger Mountain Community High School in Issaquah.

A staff member at the school has the measles, and people who were on campus between Jan. 23 and 25 may be at risk if they’re not already immune.

The patient also visited a QFC grocery store in Issaquah on Klahanie Drive and a Starbucks nearby on the following dates:

QFC-4570 Klahanie Dr S, Issaquah

  •   January 23rd between 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  •   January 24th between 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  •   January 25th between 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  •   January 29th between 12:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Starbucks-4566 Klahanie Dr SE, Issaquah

  •   January 26th between 9:00am -11:30 am

If you visited the businesses during these periods you’re asked to keep an eye out for symptoms, including include a rash, high fever, cough, runny nose, and red and watery eyes.



Kids learn to think healthy and stay active

By Jeannie Briones, Tulalip News Staff

TULALIP, Wash – Healthy Lungs, Healthy Lifestyle is the name of the new after school program offered through Tulalip Tribes Youth Services Smoking Cessation. This program educates elementary kids, aged 1st – 5th about the harmful side effects of tobacco use, while encouraging them to live a healthy by staying active.

This new program begins February 4th, and is packed with fun activities that take place every Monday from 3:35 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., Wednesday from 1:05 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., and Friday from 3:35 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Youth Services staff will have exciting activities like karate, Zumba, gymnastics, and cross fit for the kids to enjoy while learning why smoking is not good for their overall health.

To enroll your child in this educational and fun program by January 31st or for more information on the program, pleases contact, Rachel Steeve, Youth Services Smoking Cessation Specialist, at 360-716-4936 and


Jeannie Briones : 360-716-4188;

EPA details results of $100M Federal Effort to clean up Navajo uranium contamination

By Monica Brown, Tulalip News Writer

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced on Jan 24 that they had made significant progress on a coordinated five-year plan to address health risks posed by uranium contamination on the Navajo Nation. The plan is an invested $100 million.

Their efforts have reduced the most urgent risks to Navajo residents by remedying 34 contaminated homes, providing safe drinking water to 1825 families, and performing stabilization or cleanup work at 9 abandoned mines. Additionally, the EPA has useed the Superfund law to compel the responsible parties to make additional mine investigations and cleanups amounting to $17 million.

 “This effort has been a great start to addressing the toxic legacy of uranium mining on Navajo lands,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “The work done to date would not have been possible without the partnership of the six federal agencies and the Navajo Nation’s EPA and Department of Justice.”

 The Navajo Nation encompasses more than 27,000 square miles in the Four Corners area of Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico. The unique geology of the region makes the Navajo Nation rich in uranium, a radioactive ore in high demand after the development of atomic power and weapons at the close of World War II. Approximately four million tons of uranium ore were extracted during mining operations within the Navajo Nation from 1944 to 1986. Many Navajo people worked the mines, often raising their families in close proximity to the mines and mills.

 On behalf of the Navajo people I appreciate the leadership of Rep. Henry Waxman and the members of Congress who requested a multi-agency response to the Navajo Nation’s testimony presented at the October 2007 hearing,” said Ben Shelly, President of the Navajo Nation. “While there have been accomplishments that improved some conditions, we still need strong support from the Congress and the federal agencies to fund the clean-up of contaminated lands and water, and to address basic public health concerns due to the legacy of uranium mining and milling.”

Uranium mining activities no longer occur within the Navajo Nation, but the hazards of uranium contamination remain. More than 500 abandoned uranium mine claims and thousands of mine features, such as pits, trenches and holes, with elevated levels of uranium, radium and other radionuclides still exist. Health effects from exposure to these contaminants can include lung cancer, bone cancer and impaired kidney function.

The progress is from cooperation with the Navajo Nation, together with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the Department of Energy (DOE), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Indian Health Service (IHS).

Read the full report here

CDC report highlights need to invigorate services for Native Americans living with HIV

720 S. Colorado Blvd, Suite 650-S, Denver, CO 80246
Phone (720) 382-2244 Fax (720) 382-2248



CONTACT: Robert Foley, (720) 382-2244


CDC Report Highlights Need to Invigorate Services for Native Americans Living with HIV


January 24, 2013 – Denver – In 2011,

Gardner, released research findings regarding the state of HIV care and treatment in America, and the gaps that exist in working with those people living with HIV to benefit from modern biomedical and treatment options. Out of all of the individuals with HIV in the U.S., only 80% are aware of their status, 62% have been linked to care, 41% stay in care, 36% get antiretroviral therapy, and only 28% are able to achieve an undetectable viral load through medication adherence.i The disturbing results have been widely disseminated and are now commonly referred to as the “treatment cascade”. The treatment cascade coupled with research demonstrating that viral suppression through medication adherence is one of the most effective

HIV prevention strategies available and has changed the face of HIV and AIDS prevention in the

America. The current focus is shifting to the importance of biomedical interventions and ensuring that people living with HIV or newly diagnosed are linked to stable systems of care and disease maintenance.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released on a supplemental surveillance report in January, 2013 titled Monitoring Selected National HIV Prevention and Care Objectives by Using HIV Surveillance Data—United States and 6 U.S. Dependent Areas—2010. This report details important statistics on linkage to care, retention in care and viral suppression – all of which are leading health indicators for people living with HIV and are now indicators of successful prevention and treatment efforts. Data were collected from 14 U.S. jurisdictions (Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, California [San Francisco], South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wyoming). This sample, while not encompassing all areas within the U.S., is geographically diverse and includes some very large American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian populations.

“The CDC should be applauded for releasing these data during this time of shifting prevention priorities,” said Robert Foley, President/CEO of the National Native American AIDS Prevention Center. “However, the disparity continues to grow and this report should serve as a call to action for all parties working for the health and wellness of American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian people. HIV and AIDS in America cannot be eradicated and there is no hope of ‘reaching zero’ if these trends are left unaddressed.”

According to the report, American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians are not accessing or receiving the care and attention that they require to in order to maintain their health after an HIV diagnoses.

  •  Only 0.4% of American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) and 0.1% of Native Hawaiian individuals (13 years or older) that tested positive for HIV during 2010 were linked to medical care within 3 months after their diagnosis. This is compared to 50.6%, 32.8%, and 11.9% for Black/African Americans, Whites, and Hispanic/Latinos, respectively.ii
  •  Only 0.3% of American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) and 0.1% of Native Hawaiian individuals (13 years or older) that were diagnosed with HIV in 2008 had achieved viral suppression by the end of 2009. This is compared to 44.8%, 38.0%, and 13.2% for Black/African Americans, Whites, and Hispanic/Latinos, respectively.iii

This is an alarming trend. When these statistics are viewed beside the statistics that were released by the CDC in 2012 that stated new HIV infections among AI/AN people increased by 8.7% from 2007 to 2010. It is becoming apparent that changes need to be made and action must be taken in order to meet the needs of Native Americans newly diagnosed and living with HIV.

“Knowing what we know now about how to conduct effective HIV prevention and care, it is shocking to see how few Native people are accessing the care that they need. Hopefully, this report can serve as a call to action,” asserted D’Shane Barnett (Mandan/Arikara), Chairman of the National Native American AIDS Prevention Center. “Governmental organizations and federal decision makers must pay attention to these trends and realign funding and resources to Native communities in order to ensure that Tribes and Native healthcare systems have the capacity to create and sustain linkage to care programs, that HIV medications are readily available, and that adherence programs and treatment regimens are culturally responsive.”

“Native communities need to examine their internal systems in order to ensure that they have processes and staff in place to work with people who are newly diagnosed to assist them with navigating a potentially confusing systems of care,” stated Mr. Foley. “And there needs to be persistent efforts to combat community-based stigma caused by fear, misinformation, and discrimination. These continue to serve as barriers to people who know they need to access care, but are fearful of the social ramifications of doing so. This report is a new signpost laying out the path that we have to follow.”


The CDC report can be viewed on the CDC website at:




# # #


The National Native American AIDS Prevention Center (NNAAPC), located in Denver, CO, is a non-profit organization founded in 1987 to address the impact of HIV/AIDS on American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians through culturally appropriate advocacy, research, education, and policy development in support of healthy Indigenous people. NNAAPC provides capacity building assistance to tribal and urban health organizations and communities, community-based organizations serving Native people, and agencies that administer federal HIV/AIDS policy. Over the last 25 years, NNAAPC has conducted work in community mobilization, training and technical assistance in HIV/AIDS prevention, intervention and case management, communications and media development, outreach and recruitment, developing technologies with HIV applications, and forging a policy agenda that ensures the inclusion of Native people. NNAAPC is the only national HIV/AIDS-specific Native organization in the United States.




Gardner, E.M., McLees M.P., Steiner, J.F., Del Rio C., & Burman, W.J. The spectrum of engagement in HIV care and its relevance to test-and-treat strategies for prevention of HIV infection. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 2011; 52: 793-800.

ii Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Monitoring selected national HIV prevention and care objectives by using HIV surveillance data—United States and 6 U.S. dependent areas—2010. HIV Surveillance Supplemental Report 2013; 18 (No. 2, part

B). Published January 2013. Accessed January 23,



CDC, 2013

Marysville community prepares to relay for cancer research

Cancer survivors (from left) David Trader, Kristin Banfield, JoDonna Withers and Dennis Ross stand in front of the “HOPE” sign at the Marysville Relay for Life kickoff on Jan. 19.
Cancer survivors (from left) David Trader, Kristin Banfield, JoDonna Withers and Dennis Ross stand in front of the “HOPE” sign at the Marysville Relay for Life kickoff on Jan. 19.

By Christopher Andersson, North County Outlook,

Community members are preparing for this summer’s Marysville/Tulalip Relay for Life to raise money for the American Cancer Society, beginning with a Jan. 19 kickoff.
The Relay for Life is a 24-hour event that requires team members to collect donations for months ahead of time, then take turns walking non-stop around a track or lot. The annual event is the ACS’ biggest fundraiser for cancer research and aid.

The Marysville/Tulalip Relay for Life will be on June 29, 2013 at Asbery Field. Registration and donation information can be found at

Kristin Banfield, chair for this year’s Marysville relay and a cancer survivor, said that the camaraderie and support from previous relays has been “absolutely mind-blowing and an amazing experience.”

Banfield, who has been on breast cancer walks before, also likes the all-inclusive nature of the relays. She has lost loved ones to other types of cancer and this is a way to honor all survivors and loved ones.

Another reason to support the relay is that a large percentage of the dollars raised stay local, she said. Much of the money raised go to the local American Cancer Society office that provides resources, both large and small, to cancer patients and survivors.

Banfield said they help in even small ways like providing her pillows after she had her surgery. “And you think that’s the weirdest thing in the world but it’s the most comforting thing when the last thing you want to do is get in the car because the seatbelt is rubbing in the places you’ve had surgery,” she said, “I want the services that I used to be available for the next person, and hopefully with the research we’re doing, there won’t be a next person someday.”

The goal for this year is to raise $200,000. Last year the Marysville/Tulalip Relay for Life raised around $150,000. Banfield hopes for 80 teams to participate, and they already have more than 20 teams signed up.

The theme for this year is “dream big, relay bigger.” Banfield said she wants to make the relay bigger and better than it has been in the past and wants to “really see what this Marysville community can do.”

For more information go to

Washington Anti-Hunger Groups, Schools, and Non-profit Organizations Seek to Feed More Students When School is Out

The Children’s Alliance

Seattle – January 28, 2013 Washington afterschool providers came together today with anti-hunger advocates and child nutrition state and regional administrators to learn how to implement and expand the Afterschool Meal Program to receive federal funding to feed children afterschool, on weekends, and during school holidays. Working together, these stakeholders are helping to eliminate childhood hunger in Washington.

At the Luncheon: Eliminating Hunger After School: Expansion of the Afterschool Meal Program for Washington Kids, state and regional program administrators and advocacy organizations:

·     Spoke about the connection between nutrition and educational enrichment,

·     Presented an overview of the At-Risk Afterschool Meal Program,

·     Provided information on how to apply to receive the federal funding available, and

·     Discussed current opportunities for implementation and how to make the program work in a variety of settings.

“The Afterschool Meal Program can make a big difference for children in Washington,” said Linda Stone, executive director of the Children’s Alliance.  “Many parents are struggling to hold onto jobs, working extra-long or nontraditional hours, commuting long-distances, or trying to get back into the workforce. They need care for their children in order to do that, so it absolutely makes sense to provide afterschool, weekend, and school holiday programs to help parents provide healthy food for their children.”

With its partners, the Children’s Alliance is working to increase the number of sponsors and providers participating in the federal Afterschool Meal Program so that more children in Washington can receive free meals and snacks, participate fully in their afterschool activities, and have access to the nutrition they need outside of school.

“The benefits of afterschool meal programs are boundless,” said Crystal FitzSimons of the Food Research and Action Center.  “Access to afterschool meals improves students’ health, mental well-being, and their ability to fully participate and learn in afterschool activities.  As a result, schools have higher overall achievement scores, and communities stay healthier.”

Washington’s childhood poverty rate is over 18 percent and the percentage of Washington families experiencing food insecurity has increased in recent years.

The Luncheon was organized by the Children’s Alliance and the Food Research and Action Center in partnership with the Afterschool Meals Workgroup, and with support from the ConAgra Foods Foundation.