The Community Action Agency of Southern New Mexico (CAASNM) has been awarded a $122,000 grant from the Paso del Norte Health Foundation for their Early Child Nutrition Education Program. The program provides essential nutritional education to preschoolers ages 3-5, trains home-based daycare providers, and includes workshops that engage providers, children, and their parents.
The initiative is designed to build upon the existing Child and Adult Food Care Program, which focuses primarily on teaching daycare providers about proper nutrition. CAASNM believes that reaching children directly will help to foster healthy, lifelong habits. “Traditionally, preschoolers in home daycares do not receive structured, nutritional education until they reach public school” said Dawn Z. Hommer, CAASNM’s CEO. “With this in mind, the program is child-centered with the goal to proactively inspire and motivate children to make healthier choices and seek opportunities for increased physical activity which will develop healthy habits earlier in life.”
CAASNM is partnering with the Paso del Norte Institute for Healthy Living (IHL) to evaluate the impact of this new program that uses the innovative HOP’N Home curriculum. Dr. Leah Whigham, Executive Director of the IHL, says, “HOP’N Home is a new, evidence-based curriculum that teaches children how to influence their home environments in a healthy way. This approach has the ability to have much broader and long-lasting impact than traditional, health-based preschool curricula.” Dr. Tanis Walch, a professor at the University of North Dakota and one of the original developers of HOP’N Home, will serve as a consultant and trainer on the project.
Paso del Norte Health Foundation promotes health and prevents disease in the region through leadership in health education, research, and advocacy. Through the initiatives of healthy eating and active lifestyle the Foundation seeks to support healthy lifestyles throughout the region.
CAASNM is a non-profit dedicated to enhancing self-reliance for low-income New Mexicans. The agency has served the community for 50 years by providing supportive resources that foster self-sufficiency, while reaching an average of 22,000 people annually. CAASNM strives to connect programs to the community in effort to encourage family wellness, empower families and bridge resources. Its purpose is to reduce the incidence of poverty by proactively reaching out to underrepresented populations. CAASNM advocates for the prosperity of the low-income by actively engaging community links that expand opportunities and broaden resources that lead to greater quality of life prospects. CAASNM is a participating partner with hundreds of agencies across New Mexico and serves as a catalyst for innovation by helping new programs launch and sustain themselves. Please visit: http://caasnm.org for more information.