Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) announced today that the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies has approved the FY11 Appropriations Bill, which includes $100,000 for a health program to help at-risk students from the Validus Preparatory Academy in the Bronx. The “Building Strong Minds & Strong Bodies Initiative” addresses alarmingly high rates of asthma, diabetes, gun-related deaths and other health issues facing Bronx students. Senator Gillibrand worked closely with members of the Appropriations Committee to include funding for the project in this year’s spending bill.
“We must ensure that high school students have access to affordable healthy food and are informed about the importance of health and nutrition,” Senator Gillibrand said. “This federal investment will go a long way towards creating good-paying jobs to train our Bronx teachers and give our Bronx students the opportunity to live longer, healthier lives.”
“The Building Strong Minds and Strong Bodies” project is part of New York City’s Outward Bound programming, which promotes academic achievement and character development for urban youth as well as extensive development and training for teachers. With health and nutrition a major area of concern in the South Bronx, the Validus Preparatory Academy partnered with NYC Outward Bound starting in 2005 to place special focus on health and fitness, incorporating topics in the high school academic curriculum and including daily exercise and urban expeditions. Federal funding will go towards hiring two educators to engage and encourage hundreds of students.
The Validus Preparatory Academy works with high school students one-on-one as well as in small group settings. The high school also partners with community organizations including Harbor Conservatory, El Museo del Barrio and Bronx Lebanon Hospital.
Yesterday, the Appropriations Bill for the Commerce, Justice, and Science Subcommittee passed the full committee. The legislation will head to the floor for a full vote before the Senate. The bill will then move towards Conference with the House and then to the President for signature.