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Erie Insurance funds Carpe Diem nutrition project

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Erie Insurance Giving Network has awarded a grant of $5,000 to Mercyhurst University’s Carpe Diem Academy to fund a health and wellness initiative for 60 K-2nd-grade children at McKinley Elementary School.

The Carpe Diem Academy provides extended learning experiences at several Erie schools. This particular grant will fund a project at McKinley where healthy snacks and meals are provided to the pupils who, in addition, are educated on making nutritious food choices in their own daily lives.

The grant was written by Kristen Pepe, graduate admissions coordinator at Mercyhurst; in cooperation with Amy Bauschard, Carpe Diem Academy director; Leanne Roberts, chair of Mercyhurst’s education department; and Sheila Coon, director of external affairs and government relations.

The grant cites research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which found that childhood obesity is more prevalent in low-income areas. According to the 2012 Census data, about 47 percent of individuals living in the east side of Erie, where McKinley is located, earn incomes below the federal poverty line.

By exposing children each day to nutritious foods, the academy hopes to provide them the opportunity to grow up making healthier choices for themselves. Besides supporting 60 children, the project will engage up to six of Mercyhurst’s undergraduate education students, who will gain classroom experience in an urban school.