A recent grant award to ICAN: Positive Programs for Youth from Walmart will support the organization’s Healthy Lifestyles program. 89% of youth at ICAN qualify for the free jan09.2014-18 (2)and reduced lunch program at their schools. ICAN serves over 100,000 free, nutritious meals and snacks to youth each year. ICAN’s Health Lifestyles Program is designed to reduce hunger and educate youth on healthy living.

Youth attending ICAN programs range from age 5 to 18. They live in low income neighborhoods and face a number of daily risk factors, including chronic poverty, hunger and food insecurity, health issues (including childhood obesity), poor performance in school, and exposure to substance abuse and violence. They are unable to consistently access enough nutritious food necessary for a healthy life. This not only adversely impacts healthy development; it also makes it difficult for the children to focus in school and leads to frequent illness.

WalmartThe Healthy Lifestyles Program addresses food insecurity in youth along with associated health, safety, and developmental risks. The program has four components: Nutrition, Safety and Wellness, Structured Sports, and Prevention. There are three structured goals for the program that include: improving the immediate nutritional needs of youth; developing a sense of responsibility for one’s health; and preventing youth involvement in choices and activities that pose a threat to safety and well-being.

“ICAN’s ongoing partnership with Walmart is critical to the youth we serve. Living a healthy life starts with nutrition and exercise. It sets the stage for a lifetime of healthy habits that will affect all aspects of their life. Walmart understands this need and have filled an essential role in supporting this program,” stated ICAN’s Chief Executive Officer, Becky Jackson.