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Clean plates, clean slates and equity in education

Dr. Diane Golzynski, who oversees USDA nutrition programs in Michigan, testified recently on the success of the Ten Cents a Meal for Michigan Kids and Farms Program.This program provides additional state funding to schools sourcing local fruit, vegetables and dried beans. “The exposure to healthy, local produce has increased the children’s acceptance and excitement to the point parents are telling us that the children now request the produce grown by their local farmer at home,” she shared. To build an equitable, vibrant community food system, WKKF funds the program’s dissemination of findings and best practices.

A criminal record limits many people’s ability to move beyond their past and establish a level of financial security and independence. The WKKF-supported Clean Slate Initiative recently announced the launch of campaigns in four new states to shift narratives and underscore the importance of providing economic opportunity for people with criminal records.

The Detroit Equity Action Lab (DEAL), an initiative of WKKF grantee Wayne State University, launched a sixth cohort of its Racial Equity Fellowship program. Since its launch in 2014, the initiative has gathered nearly 200 leaders focusing on many facets of racial equity in education, health care, community development and many other areas. The goal is to help community-based organizations build the capacity needed to address structural racism in Detroit.

A WKKF-funded initiative of the Universided Iberoamerica was cited in an article in the Spanish newspaper El País about the development of culturally relevant education for Indigenous children across Latin America. The project, called Milpa Educativa, developed methodologies for building relevant intercultural education processes for Indigenous children in Mexico. Milpa is a Mexican term for a traditional method of agriculture, but it also refers to a system of relationships between people and land.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has tapped WKKF grantee and Haitian physician Dr. Jean Wil liam Papeto join its newly formed nine-member Science Council. The team is charged with keeping the WHO informed of the latest scientific developments and ensuring “excellence, relevance and efficacy” in WHO’s work. Dr. Pape founded GHESKIO, one of the world’s first HIV clinics, in Port-au-Prince in 1982. The organization has since expanded to research and treatment for a range of infectious diseases, and last year Dr. Pape became co-chair of a Haitian government-established COVID-19 task force.

Battle Creek Public Schools (BCPS) teacher Brandi Gillson was recognized for Excellence in Education by the state of Michigan for her ability to understand and reach children who have experienced trauma. Since 2017, BCPS has used funds from a landmark WKKF grant to transform the district with a focus on racial equity and has made major strides to bring the community together toward the common goal of 100% success for every student.

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