CATCH Global Foundation to Bring “Restart Smart” Trainings and Whole Child Wellness Programming to Michigan Schools

August 20, 2020


Dozens of schools will get the evidence-based school wellness program CATCH®, while up to 200 schools statewide will receive virtual training on resuming Health & PE post Covid-19, thanks to $252,000 in grants from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund.

Students participate in a CATCH P.E. activity at Lyons Elementary in Lansing School District.

The Michigan Health Endowment Fund (Health Fund) awarded two grants totaling $252,000 to CATCH Global Foundation (CGF) to improve access to high-quality nutrition education and P.E. in Michigan schools. Studies show that physical activity, nutrition, and mindfulness are essential to youth mental and immune health, particularly during times of crisis.

“The Health Fund has long invested in schools as a place where kids can learn healthy habits that last a lifetime,” said Laurie Solotorow, director of the Health Fund’s Nutrition & Healthy Lifestyles program. “During this pandemic kids need healthy food and physical activity more than ever to keep growing strong and stay mentally healthy—yet it’s harder for schools to deliver these critical services via alternative learning methods. We’re proud to partner with CGF to help make sure Michigan’s kids have the support they need.”

The first grant, totaling $98,000, will address the need for direction on how to best carry out health and physical education safely post Covid-19. The “Restart Smart” training program provides specific guidance for K-8 educators, regardless of whether schools open fully, partially, or virtual-only this fall. Up to 200 schools, with a minimum free-and-reduced-lunch rate (FRL) of 50%, will each receive vouchers for six slots to the training offerings as well as a year of access to CATCH’s new video health and nutrition lessons designed for distance education.

Michigan schools interested in the Restart Smart training program can learn more, and those with at least 50% FRL can enroll to receive training vouchers, through the CATCH website.

The second grant of $154,000 was awarded as part of the Health Fund’s Nutrition & Healthy Lifestyles portfolio. This project, called “CATCH Michigan” is a 3-year initiative to expand CATCH’s evidence-based wellness program to school districts across the state in a coordinated and efficient manner while also building an infrastructure for continued expansion and sustainability in future years. CATCH Michigan will recruit approximately 36 schools in the first year of the grant, with more schools to be added in years 2 and 3 based on input from community implementation partners.

“In response to the challenges of teaching health in the Covid-19 era, schools around Michigan have made it clear that they need and want the resources that CATCH provides,” said CGF Founder and CEO Duncan Van Dusen. “We are excited to build on our previous work with the Health Fund and bring ‘Whole Child’ wellness programming to more schools and communities.”

The Health Fund partnered with CATCH Global Foundation in 2019 to bring Whole Child wellness programming to nine campuses in Lansing Public School District.