Healthy Apple Program Receives National Attention Through Local FCC Site Visit

By Raegan Sales
Healthy Apple Program Coordinator

Earlier this month Children’s Council’s Healthy Apple Program hosted Dr. Sara Bleich and other partners on a site visit at Manos de Angel Daycare, the Family Child Care (FCC) program of Leticia Ornelas in San Francisco’s Bayview neighborhood.

Dr. Bleich was recently appointed by President Biden as the Director of Nutrition Security and Health Equity, Food and Nutrition Services (FNS), at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

We were thrilled to showcase the excellent strides made by Leticia at her program, where children eat healthy meals and snacks, enjoy daily indoor and outdoor physical activity, and tend to the backyard garden where they pick herbs, fruits and vegetables to incorporate into their snacks.

Dr. Bleich was joined by Julie Yee and Terry Gunnell from the USDA Western Regional Office (WRO); Hares Rahimzei from the California Department of Social Services; and Dr. Christopher Chau, Project Director, San Francisco Nutrition Education & Obesity Prevention (SF NEOP), SF Department of Public Health (SFDPH).

After introductions, Dr. Gina Fromer, President/CEO of Children’s Council, and I provided an overview of Healthy Apple and Children’s Council’s work, highlighting our emphasis on equitably supporting child care educators to help children grow healthy habits for life.

The group then joined in as Leticia, her husband Esteban and the children in their program had a snack (with a nutrition education activity!), showed off their dance moves and went back outside for active play and a tour of the garden.

Dr. Bleich was the first to jump in for the dance party and hula hooping!

The site visit offered a rare opportunity for national leaders to see firsthand how business and home life are intimately intertwined at FCC programs, and how healthy habits have a ripple effect as part of the healthy home environment for the educator and their family.

Dr. Fromer reflected, “It was awesome to be there with Dr. Bleich and see the amazing impact that our Healthy Apple Program is having on the nutrition and physical activity habits of the children in Leticia Ornelas’ FCC. Congratulations to everyone who worked so hard to make the visit a tremendous success.”

Click here to see a video about Leticia Ornelas, who was our 2022 Family Child Care Champion!

More about our Healthy Apple Program and its impact on our city’s children and early educators

Children’s Council’s Healthy Apple Program (HAP) is a Policy, Systems, and Environmental (PSE) change tool that uses research-based best practices to coach educators on improving the nutrition, physical activity practices, and environment of child care facilities.

The HAP recognizes achievements by issuing awards to child care providers who make improvements and reach their goals. HAP is an evidence-based program that has shown to be effective in lowering Body Mass Index (BMI) in children. (Stookey, Evans, Chan, Tao-Lew, & Arthur, 2017).

Funded in part by USDA SNAP-Ed, an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Comments are closed