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Aurora Pipeling, Founder and Chief Executive Director of The Work-Family Connection is spearheading a policy impacting project that will set the guidelines for nutrition and physical activity in all afterschool programs, statewide and potentially nationwide.

The purpose of this project is to not only teach children about nutrition and fitness, but also revising the requirements for Board of Education run School Age Child Care in the next round of revisions.

The other stakeholders that have been identified are Shaping NJ, Dept of Children and Families Office of Licensing, Association for Children in NJ, New Jersey School Age Child Care, NJ Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies.

Two of the project leaders, Alexandra Grenci and Dr. Nurgul Fitzgerald are active members of the Shaping NJ initiative.  They have been in close contact with Karin Mille from the Department of Health and Senior Services, Office of Nutrition and Fitness (ONF).  These communications have been supportive of this project since it complements the ongoing efforts of the ONF and is a valuable contribution to the action phase of the Shaping NJ.

The Work-Family Connection is a not-for-profit, 501c3, educational organization whose mission is to respond to the continually emerging needs of students, families, schools and communities.  Started in 1989 by Aurora Pipeling, WFC now serves over 2000 children in more than 33 schools across the state of New Jersey. Over the past 21 years, The Work-Family Connection has been selected for a variety of pilot projects that have developed and/or changed standards and policies in afterschool programs.  These projects were directed by NJSACC, NJ After 3, NJ State Licensing, NAA Quality Standards, among others.  Preventing and treating childhood obesity has been identified by experts in the field of family health as a critical emerging need in our state and across the nation.

Aurora Pipeling sums it up by saying: “We are very excited about the possibilities of being able to use our long-established, high-quality programs coupled with the stellar reputation of The Work-Family Connection as a vehicle for this important work.  Where else do you have the opportunity to impact the lives of the children AND their families on a daily basis, over an extended period of time?  We truly believe that WFC’s model has all of the ingredients to successfully deliver what the children really need to make better life choices.”

The goal of this project will be to measurably impact attitudes, beliefs, intended behaviors and behaviors of children and their families. The improvement will be shown in 3 of the 6 areas that are recommended by the CDC, namely:

1.    Increased consumption of Fruits and Vegetables
2.    Decreased Screen Time
3.    Increased Physical Activity.

These activities encourage healthy lifestyles, including physical activity; promote fitness and nutrition education; support parental involvement in their children’s lives; provide access to safe facilities for physical activity; and directly support healthy nutrition.