Wellness in the Schools Celebrates 10 Years of Inspiring Healthy Change in Public Schools

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New York-based Nonprofit Announces Spring Gala and Year-Long National Campaign

“This is a unique opportunity to bring together a community of influencers and advocates from a number of industries and celebrate those who are helping to combat the obesity epidemic,” — Chef Bill Telepan.

Wellness in the Schools, the New York-based nonprofit organization that works to promote healthy eating, environmental awareness and fitness as a way of life for public school children, will celebrate its 10th Anniversary this spring with an honorary “I Heart WITS” [stylistically I ❤ WITS] Gala and the rollout of a national awareness-building campaign.

Launched in 2005 as a grass-roots effort by a small group of concerned NYC public school parents, Wellness in the Schools (WITS) now reaches over 30,000 children in more than 60 public schools across New York, Kentucky and Florida. Under the leadership of Executive Director and Founder Nancy Easton and world-renowned chef, Bill Telepan, the rapidly growing non-profit organization has been recognized nationwide as a leader in food, fitness, and wellness programming. It has received national accolades from First Lady Michelle Obama and the NYC Department of Education regards WITS as one of its most vital partners.

WITS will celebrate this landmark anniversary at a commemorative “I Heart WITS” Gala on May 5th at Chef Tom Colicchio’s Riverpark restaurant. Presenting at the gala will be model and TV host, Chrissy Teigen and executive chef, restaurant owner and TV personality, Josh Capon, along with hosts WITS Executive Chef, Bill Telepan and WITS Founder, Nancy Easton. Honorees to be recognized for their influential impact in the health and wellness sphere include NBC News Anchor Jenna Wolfe, CEO, Creative Director, and Co-Founder of FEED Projects Lauren Bush Lauren, partner at consumer advocacy and food law firm, Reese LLP, Michael Reese, CEO of SchoolFood Eric Goldstein, and former White House Senior Policy Advisor on Nutrition and Executive Director of Let’s Move!, Sam Kass.

“This is a unique opportunity to bring together a community of influencers and advocates from a number of industries and celebrate those who are helping to combat the obesity epidemic,” said Chef Telepan. “There’s no better time than now, reflecting on all we’ve accomplished over ten years, to spread the message further and share best practices that will help kids and their families lead healthier lives.”

The evening’s dinner will feature specially prepared dishes from over thirty-five restaurant and beverage partners such as, Marc Forgione, DBGB, Blue Hill Stone Barns, Tertulia, Union Square Hospitality Group, Hearth and New York Distilling Company. Live and silent auctions will feature premium health, fitness, and travel experiences.

“Over the past ten years, Wellness in the Schools has been committed to changing the way we think about health and wellness in the classroom by introducing a unique, hands-on approach,” says Nancy Easton, WITS Co-Founder and Executive Director. “Whether it’s introducing kids to new foods in our cooking labs or motivating inactive students to get moving at recess, the goal is to inspire long-term change that goes beyond the classroom and builds the foundation for a lifetime of healthier choices.”

This spring, WITS will also kick off a year-long “I Heart WITS” campaign for children and adults across the country. The “Wellness in My Schools” competition will invite school students and leaders nationwide to submit their wellness-focused accomplishments and projects, while the “Do 10 Things” initiative will encourage adults to get involved by adopting ten simple, yet powerful, healthy habits.

About Wellness in the Schools

Wellness in the Schools (WITS) inspires healthy eating, environmental awareness and fitness as a way of life for kids in public schools. Through meaningful public/private partnerships with school leadership, teachers, chefs, coaches, parents and kids, WITS develops and implements programs that provide healthy foods, healthy environments and opportunities for regular play to help kids learn and grow. The WITS curriculum includes “Cook for Kids”, “Green for Kids”, and “Coach for Kids” as hands-on food, environmental, and fitness programs engineered to transform healthy living into an easy-to-replicate lifestyle.

WITS was founded by Nancy Easton, a lifetime athlete and health enthusiast who spent over 15 years working for the New York City Department of Education and was named as a Food Revolution Hero by acclaimed chef-food activist Jamie Oliver along with Chef Bill Telepan. Chef Telepan is one of the original leaders of greenmarket cooking — a culinary commitment to using local and sustainable ingredients — and founder of the Upper West Side’s Telepan, a Michelin-starred restaurant, also awarded two stars by The New York Times and named as Zagat’s Best New Restaurant. Last year, New York Giants punter and Muscle and Fitness Magazine’s “NFL’s Fittest Man”, Steve Weatherford, joined on as Head Coach for the Coach for Kids program. The WITS program also features additional chef ambassadors including Michael Anthony, Jehangir Mehta, Alex Guarnaschelli, Seamus Mullen, Jonathan Waxman, George Weld, Murray’s Cheese and funding partners, including Newman’s Own, Whole Foods Market, and Chop’t Creative Salad Company.

For more information about Wellness in the Schools and the 10th Anniversary, visit http://www.wellnessintheschools.org or contact wits(at)kwittken(dot)com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wellness-in-the-Schools/43108859441
Twitter: @WITSinSchools

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