Life Sustaining Physical Activity and Nutrition - LifeSPAn
WHAT IS LifeSPAN?
LifeSPAN (Life Sustaining Physical Activity & Nutrition) is an evidence-based SNAP-Ed program that helps families lead healthier lives. SNAP-Ed is the education portion of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (federal food assistance). Our Direct Education (DE) helps teach participants how to establish healthy eating habits and increase their time spent being physically active. In this program, nutrition facilitators work with classroom teachers to implement culturally relevant, nutrition-based curriculum for students in PreK-12th.
In addition to DE, the LifeSPAN team works with local partners and coalitions to create sustainable change in the Eastern Upper Peninsula. By supporting policies, systems, and environmental (PSE) change within our communities, LifeSPAN works towards increasing access to local resources that help families integrate healthy eating and physical activity into their daily life.
Paula Finfrock: Paula serves as the project director for LifeSPAN. By overseeing the project as a whole, she is in charge of project reporting and communicating with our fiduciaries, the Michigan Fitness Foundation. She provides support for LifeSPAN nutrition facilitators who teach PK-12th grade students through culturally relevant, evidence-based nutrition programming. The program's focus is to support families by working towards increasing access to local resources that help them integrate healthy eating and physical activity into their daily life.
Cara Ortiz: Cara is our Preschool Nutrition Facilitator. She visits preschool classrooms to help students learn about the importance of eating fruits and vegetables as well as being physically active through fun, interactive lessons.
Apply Here: Vacant position: The Elementary School Nutrition Facilitator teaches students in grades K, 3, and 5/6 all about the importance of eating fruits and vegetables as well as being physically active. 5/6 students will learn how to cook with produce focused in each specific nutrition lesson.
Apply Here: Vacant position: The Native Nutrition Facilitator and PSE Lead is responsible for implementing lessons from the 13 Moons of Anishinaabe Nutrition, a culturally relevant curriculum. In addition to facilitating nutrition lessons in classrooms, the PSE Lead works with the LifeSPAN team to create sustainable change within our communities, focusing on increasing healthy food access and free/low cost physical activity opportunities.
When COVID-19 shutdowns began impacting the Eastern Upper Peninsula Intermediate School District (EUPISD), the Life Sustaining Physical Activity and Nutrition (LifeSPAN) team found the proverbial silver lining and leveraged it to create opportunities that will benefit their community long after the pandemic has passed.
For many parents, encouraging children to eat more fruits and vegetables can be an exhausting battle. This is not the case for Matt Perkins, a fifth-grader at Rudyard Elementary School in Michigan’s Eastern Upper Peninsula. His mother, Karen Perkins, says Matt often encourages his parents to eat more vegetables and loves going to the grocery store and cooking dinner for the family.
Trying to promote physical activity in Kinross Charter Township is a path littered with hurdles. The rural community about 20 miles south of Sault Ste. Marie has just one recreation center, which is not open on weekends. The community of about 6,000 lacks sidewalks, and it’s not safe to walk along snow-covered streets in the winter. Snowshoe and cross-country ski trails exist in the region, but they’re not in proximity to residential areas. Transportation can be a problem.
This project was funded in whole or in part by the USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Michigan Fitness Foundation.
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.