Aiken Elementary School will use $3,800 grant to offer students nutritious smoothies and enhance physical activity program

Author: Molly McKendry, MS, RD, LDN
Elementary school check presentation

West Hartford, CT – Aiken Elementary School is enhancing their school meal program by offering another option to students—smoothies. Why? Smoothies provide another way for students to consume fresh fruits, vegetables, and dairy at school. 

They will also begin offering fun bowling activities to students as part of their physical education class and in the after-school program. The school received the grant during a check presentation held last Thursday at the school, and was attended by special guest dairy farmer Dick Jonelis of Shadow Valley Farm in CT. 

Aiken Elementary participates in the nationwide Fuel Up to Play 60 (FUTP60) program—a student-led, in-school physical activity and nutrition program—which made them eligible for the grant. Funding for the FUTP60 program is provided by the dairy farm families of Connecticut through a partnership between the Connecticut Milk Promotion Board and New England Dairy & Food Council. 

According to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, elementary-aged children often under consume fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as dairy.1 Adolescence is a crucial time to receive adequate nutrition to support healthy growth and develop. Aiken hopes that with the addition of smoothies, their students will have more variety and additional opportunities to meet their nutritional needs throughout the school day. 

Students at Aiken School understand that eating healthy and being active is what keeps us being great learners.” Said Dan Golden, Physical Education teacher at Aiken Elementary school. “We are excited to be awarded the Fuel Up to Play 60 grant to help us in each way of thinking. Our purchase of a school smoothie machine will not only give us another great option for consuming fruits and dairy, but bring out school spirit even more.” 

He also described how the grant will support the school’s commitment to year-round physical activity. 

“In a school of 400 students, any way of being active (even in the winter!) is always encouraged. Through the learning of rules, equipment, math skills for scoring, and teamwork, the addition of new equipment to our school will help reinforce the importance of remaining active in everything that we do!       

During the check presentation, Dick Jonelis said I’m excited to hear that Aiken Elementary School will now be able to offer students fresh smoothies and new activity opportunities because of this grant. I’m proud to support a program that helps provide healthy options for students and fuel for learning.” 

For more information about Fuel Up to Play 60 in New England, follow New England Dairy & Food Council on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and visit   

More Information

  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. December 2015. Available at  
About New England Dairy & Food Council

New England Dairy & Food Council (NEDFC) is a non-profit nutrition education organization staffed by registered dietitians. NEDFC is a state and regional affiliate of the National Dairy Council® (NDC).  Our goal is to ensure that health professionals, scientists, media and educators have a credible body of nutrition information upon which to base health recommendations. 

About the Dairy Farm Families of Connecticut

The dairy farm families of Connecticut support the health and wellness of kids in local schools, and the Fuel Up To Play 60 program is a major initiative to achieve that goal. Connecticut’s dairy farms are a vital part of  the local economy, and they play a key role in preserving the beauty of the green fields and open spaces that make this region special to residents and visitors alike. Funding for this program is provided by those dairy farm families through a partnership between the Connecticut Milk Promotion Board chaired by Commissioner of Agriculture Steven Reviczky, and the New England Dairy & Food Council.  

About Fuel Up to Play 60

Fuel Up to Play 60 is an in-school nutrition and physical activity program launched by National Dairy Council (NDC) and National Football League (NFL), with additional partnership support from U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The program encourages youth to consume nutrient-rich foods (low-fat and fat-free dairy, fruits, vegetables and whole grains) and achieve at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day.  

Fuel Up to Play 60 is designed to engage and empower youth to take action for their own health by implementing long-term, positive changes for themselves and their schools. Customizable and non-prescriptive program components are grounded in research with youth, including tools and resources, in-school promotional materials, a website and student challenges. Fuel Up to Play 60 is further supported by several health and nutrition organizations: Action for Healthy Kids, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, National Hispanic Medical Association, National Medical Association and School Nutrition Association. Visit to learn more.  

About NFL PLAY 60

Designed to help tackle childhood obesity, NFL PLAY 60 brings together the NFL‟s long-standing commitment to health and fitness with partner organizations like the National Dairy Council. NFLPLAY 60 is also implemented locally, as part of the NFL’s in-school, after-school and team-based programs. For more information, visit © 2012 NFL Properties LLC. All NFL-related trademarks are trademarks of the National Football League.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).  


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