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Program helps students develop healthy habits

Spurs announcementSan Antonio Spurs player Jakob Poeltl helped surprise students with a special announcement Feb. 28. Thanks to a $120,000 grant from Spurs Give, students at San Antonio ISD elementary schools will have the chance to expand their knowledge about basic nutrition and practical cooking skills through the Culinary Health Education for Families (CHEF) program.


Funded by a grant from Goldsbury Foundation and created in partnership with The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio, the mission of CHEF is to drive healthy eating among children and families by promoting nutritious food and home cooking as key ingredients in the recipe for life-long health and wellness.

“Opportunities like this are only possible because of our amazing staff, our amazing students and our amazing partners,” said Pedro Martinez, SAISD superintendent. “This is a great example of what is happening at our District.”

Currently, 20 SAISD elementary schools are offering CHEF and the newly announced Spurs Give funding will support CHEF programming in an additional 20 SAISD elementary schools over the next two years.

“The CHEF program is committed to arming our children and families with the education and skills they need to make better food choices that lead to life-long health,” said Suzanne Feldmann, CEO of CHEF. “We are thrilled that our city’s beloved Spurs organization are committing their funding to health and wellness issues and joining CHEF in this effort to get our young people excited about good nutrition and healthy food.”

The grant was announced at Bonham Academy, a school that implemented the CHEF program in the fall of this year. Not only do students build their confidence in the kitchen through hands-on classes and learn to embrace healthy, colorful foods, the program also aligns with the Texas Health TEKS and adds to the academic success of students.

Daisy, a fifth-grader at Bonham Academy, has been participating in CHEF and gave a cooking demonstration during the Spurs Give grant announcement celebration.

“I like the program because it teaches you to explore new foods and a healthy lifestyle,” she said. “If you are not living healthy, you are not taking care of your body. And if you are not taking care of your body, who is going to take care of it for you? That’s like your house.”

Mary Westfall, physical education teacher at Bonham Academy who has integrated CHEF into the school’s curriculum, is a huge proponent of the interactive program.

“Before CHEF, we didn’t have the showing of food, we didn’t have the tasting, we didn’t have how to use your knife, and we didn’t have the food,” she said. “All we had was paper and pencil. Of course, we made it engaging for the children, but this has taught us so much."

As a result of the program, students now have hands-on experience in food preparation and the confidence to make healthier choices.


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