Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) has renewed a grant to fund its Healthy Kids, Healthy Families® initiative at Erie House for an additional year.

The grant amounts to $50,000 over the next 12 months and will help fund the agency’s Health and Leadership Program—specifically its Super H initiative, a highly successful endeavor that engages children and youth ages 2 through 18 in cooking workshops and nutrition education.

“We want our youth to be able to differentiate between real, healthy food and junk food,” says Micaella Verro, director of the Health and Leadership Program at Erie House.

“The youth that we serve are exposed to a disproportionate amount of food marketing—they’re seeing advertisements for fast food and chips in their schools, on public transit, on TV and on their phones.”

“When we learn our students tried one of our recipes at home, then we know that we’re making an impact on entire families.”

Micaella Verro, Health and Leadership Program Director

With support from partners like BCBSIL, the program is able to challenge that narrative and reinforce positive, healthy choices in the kitchen and at the supermarket.

The cooking workshops allow students to learn how to prepare snacks and meals that are both nutritious and tasty. They are then able to bring the recipes home to share with their families (parents can separately participate in cooking workshops through the program’s Comprando Rico y Sano initiative), bringing the lessons learned full circle.

“When we learn our students tried one of our recipes at home, then we know that we’re making an impact on entire families,” says Verro. “It means that the kids are having so much fun learning that they’re sharing the information with their siblings and parents.”

To learn more about Health and Leadership Program at Erie House and its Super H initiative, please visit www.eriehouse.org/health.