The Oxbow Prairie Horizons School is one of 10 schools from across Saskatchewan to receive a $10,000 grant to support student nutrition through the Mosaic Extreme School Makeover Challenge.
Learning support teacher Valerie McNab, who shares responsibility for the breakfast program with student services co-ordinator Brenda Miller, said the money will be used for the school’s breakfast program and other initiatives.
Oxbow Prairie Horizons has had a breakfast program for about five years, and they serve breakfast every morning in some way.
Fresh fruit is available to all on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, while toast, yogurt, cereal and fruit are served on Wednesdays. The days in which fruit is served attract about 75 kids every day. The Wednesday menu gets 60-75 kids each day.
“I think the kids really enjoy it,” McNab said. “In the elementary end, when she (Miller) is serving fruit … there’s always lots of visiting.”
It’s a wonderful way to start the morning, and it’s a nice social time on Wednesdays, to sit down and have meal with friends.
The money from Mosaic will also allow them to have the larger breakfast on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and then serve fruit on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
“The thought behind that is welcoming them back to the school after a weekend with a meal, and then seeing them off before the weekend with a meal as well through a hearty breakfast.”
An afterschool program will also be supported with the money. The school is going to partner with the Expressway Family Centre, which operates out of the school, to have cooking programs and have a chef come in to guide kids on food preparation and choices. Parents will also be invited to participated.
McNab said most students have a good day at school if they’ve had a good breakfast.
“If we can fill a belly, it’s easier to fill a brain,” she said. “That would be our main goal behind this, is preparing people to learn, promoting some social skills at the same time, and some fellowship with their fellow students.”
The school has received money from Vermillion Energy on multiple occasions in the past for their breakfast program, and they have received money from Farm Credit Canada as well.
Mosaic is pleased to support Oxbow and other schools in the province.
“The success of this program grows year over year, thanks in large part to the commitment from educators in our province,” said Sarah Fedorchuk, the Mosaic Company’s vice-president of public affairs and government relations for North America. “Now in its 14th year, Mosaic remains committed to funding the Mosaic Extreme School Makeover Challenge to ensure 10 more schools can provide healthier school environments for their students.”
The grants across the province will support projects that have goals including building or renovating kitchen, garden and other indoor and outdoor facilities; enhancing, through courses, clubs and other efforts, the learning opportunities available for students, families and communities about topics including nutrition, cooking, Indigenous traditional knowledge and environmental sustainability; promoting reconciliation and celebrating cultures; and implementing or increasing breakfast, lunch and other programs.
Schools from across the province submitted their projects to compete for the total of $100,000 in prizes, provided by Mosaic.
To encourage grassroots initiatives to help improve student nutrition, the Mosaic Challenge began in 2006. Mosaic and the Saskatchewan School Boards Association (SSBA) have continued to partner for the initiative since then.
“Mosaic has been a very generous partner in support of improved nutrition environments for the students of our province and we are pleased to continue this program during these unprecedented times,” said Dr. Shawn Davidson, president of the SSBA.