Amerigroup Sponsors FirstLine Schools’ Gardening and Culinary Program at Arthur Ashe Charter School in New Orleans to Promote Whole Child Wellness and Healthier Communities

NEW ORLEANS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#Amerigroup–The Amerigroup Foundation has provided a $10,000 grant to FirstLine
Schools to sponsor its Edible Schoolyard New Orleans (ESYNOLA) signature
program and to promote whole child wellness through food and nutrition
education. Amerigroup’s grant is being directed to Arthur Ashe Charter
School, where it will be used to support the school’s garden-based
culinary and health education programs. The school operates a one-acre
garden and teaching kitchen that hosts student- and family-driven
seed-to-table events as well as greenhouse plant starts for all five
FirstLine Schools.

“Amerigroup is proud to support FirstLine Schools’ nutrition and health
education programs to further our impact on creating long-term solutions
for the complex health challenges that plague our state,” said Virginia
Plaisance, COO of Amerigroup Louisiana. “Together, we can be successful
in influencing healthy behaviors and building better, healthier futures
for all of our residents.”

ESYNOLA’s hands-on gardening and culinary classes inspire children and
youth to make healthy connections through food at FirstLine’s four K-8s
and one high school: Arthur Ashe Charter School, Samuel J. Green Charter
School, Langston Hughes Academy, Phillis Wheatley Community School and
Joseph S. Clark Preparatory High School. Collectively, the schools offer
more than 4,000 curriculum-based gardening and kitchen classes each
year, and sponsor more than 80 annual community events to teach children
and their families how to take responsibility for the land, their
community and their own nourishment.

“Children who grow their own food are more likely to consume fresh
produce at higher rates than their peers, so our programming at Arthur
Ashe aligns with Amerigroup’s multigenerational focus on improving
health outcomes of communities through innovative interventions and
education,” said Claudia Barker, FirstLine School’s chief development
officer and executive director of ESYNOLA. “ESYNOLA’s work allows
students to grow, prepare and enjoy fresh, seasonal food, establishing
habits that will last through adulthood.”

Amerigroup’s funding will help support several of the school’s ESYNOLA
efforts, including:

  • Kindergarten Food ABCs, an educational program that teaches children
    to eat their way through the alphabet while learning phonics and
    vocabulary.
  • Family Food Nights, community events where students and their families
    cook healthy meals together in the school’s teaching kitchen.
  • Arthur Ashe’s signature Annual Sweet Potato Fest, a grand celebration
    of the children’s schoolyard garden harvest and demonstration of
    healthy cooking.
  • Garden-science classes that take place under the Ruth U. Fertel
    Pavilion, a recently opened outdoor environmental science classroom;
    and in the Emeril Lagasse Foundation Greenhouse, where students
    cultivate plant starts to supply more than two acres of gardens that
    span across FirstLine’s other schools in New Orleans.

About the Amerigroup Foundation

The Amerigroup Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Amerigroup, a
wholly owned subsidiary of Anthem, Inc. Together, with local, regional
and national organizations, the Amerigroup Foundation works to enhance
the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities
that Amerigroup and its affiliated health plans serve. Amerigroup
Foundation funding is focused on strategic initiatives working to
address and provide innovative solutions to health care challenges, as
well as promoting the Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational
initiative with five areas of focus: Healthy Heart, Cancer Prevention,
Healthy Maternal Practices, Type 2 Diabetes Prevention, and Healthy
Active Lifestyle. These disease states and medical conditions include:
prenatal care in the first trimester, low birth weight babies, cardiac
morbidity rates, long term activities that decrease obesity and increase
physical activity, diabetes prevalence in adult populations, adult
pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations and smoking cessation. The
Foundation also coordinates the company’s year-round Associate Giving
program which provides a 50 percent match of associates’ campaign
pledges, as well as its Volunteer Time Off and Dollars for Doers
community service programs. To learn more about the Amerigroup
Foundation, please visit www.anthem.foundation.

About FirstLine Schools

The mission of FirstLine Schools is to create and inspire great open
enrollment public schools in New Orleans. FirstLine currently operates
Samuel J. Green Charter School, Arthur Ashe Charter School, Phillis
Wheatley Community School, Langston Hughes Academy, and Joseph S. Clark
Preparatory High School. For more information, please visit www.firstlineschools.org.

About Edible Schoolyard New Orleans

Edible Schoolyard New Orleans (ESYNOLA) is a comprehensive seed-to-table
food education program that aims to change the way children eat, learn,
and live at FirstLine public charter schools. The program offers
hands-on gardening and kitchen classes that are integrated into the
curriculum, culture, and cafeteria programs at the schools it serves.
Founded in 2006, ESYNOLA is in its eleventh year of operation and serves
3,100 students in grades pre-K through 12th grade across the
FirstLine Schools network. For more information, please visit www.esynola.org.

Contacts

Denise Malecki, Amerigroup
813-830-6986
denise.malecki@amerigroup.com
or
Dominique
Harris, FirstLine Schools
504-267-9041
dharris@firstlineschools.org