Toyota funds HealthWorks! grant

djournal-ToyotaBy Michaela Gibson Morris

Daily Journal

TUPELO – A $20,000 grant from Toyota will bring HealthWorks! to third- through fifth-grade students and their families.

On Friday, HealthWorks! and Toyota announced the partnership that will bring the National Institutes of Health “We Can!” program to nine schools in Tupelo and Lee County school districts.

“We really appreciate the support and partnership with Toyota and the Lee County and Tupelo schools,” said Kathy Tucker, HealthWorks! director.

The We Can program, designed for children ages 8 to 13, emphasizes healthy food choices, increased physical activity and reduced screen time. In addition to taking HealthWorks! programs to the schools, the grant funds four free sessions for the parents of students at those schools and a community celebration during the annual Tie Dye Invitational.

The program fits well with Toyota’s commitment to the health of its team members and the community at large, said Jackie Hogan, general manager for human resources for Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi.

“That it’s far-reaching is very important to us,” Hogan said.

The grant covers the costs of developing the We Can programs in HealthWorks! high-energy signature style, materials, props and delivering the programs.

“Innovation is a hallmark for HealthWorks!” said Dean Hancock, president of Health Care Foundation of North Mississippi, which oversees the children’s health education center.

Bringing the programs directly to the schools is invaluable because more children experience the message about building healthy habits.

“It’s something that will stay with them the rest of their lives,” said Lee County Schools Superintendent Jimmy Weeks.

michaela.morris@journalinc.com