NutriBullet University 90 Day Challenge Blasts into BMS
Posted On:
Friday, January 22, 2016
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Thirty-four Baird  Middle School (BMS) students have been chosen to  participate in a new 90-day program that will boost their day with nutritional smoothies.  This program came to fruition after Mrs. Deborah Casagrande, BMS Health Teacher learned of the a national contest sponsored by NutriBullet University from a parent, Mrs. Natalina Tulik. When learning of the contest Mrs. Casagrande thought it would be a valuable opportunity for BMS students and, with the assistance of Jordan Funke, BMS Library Media Specialist, set out to complete the necessary requirements to enter the contest; learning in the fall that they had been awarded one of five grants.  As part of the grant BMS received $15,000  which funded five NutriBullet units for the school, various prep equipment, a NutriBullet unit for each family of students participating, sweatshirts and other incentives for students, and $6,000 to purchase fresh produce. According to their website, more than 200 schools applied for the Nutribullet grants, with only five schools being chosen. "By engaging directly with the foods they eat, we have found that students get a better sense of how nutrition directly affects their mood, energy, and overall well being," reports Sarah Lefkowitz, registered dietitian and director of nutrition branding for NutriBullet.  "At the same time, students are developing new healthy habits that will stay with them for years to come.  It's very exciting to witness!"

Ms. Gigi Kwork, MS, RD from the NutriBullet University Program unveiled their program to student participants, school representatives and parents at Baird Middle School on Thursday, January 21st. During the kick off event the thirty-four student participants were given a health assessment, including being pricked for blood tests for sugar and cholesterol. Mrs. Casagrande explained that on the last day of the program, a second round of tests will be done to compare changes over the 90-day period. Students also designed their own unique NutriBullet cups that they will use during the challenge, made smoothies with the NutriBullet blenders using a variety of fruits and vegetables that were available, and also had fun taking selfies. Dr. Todd Gazda, Ludlow Public Schools Superintendent was in attendance, taste testing, and giving a thumbs up, to some of the student created smoothies. “In this day where childhood obesity is such a large concern, we must take advantage of any opportunity to teach students skills for healthy living. This is an excellent opportunity and I commend the hard work of our staff, particularly Deborah Casagrande, for making this possible.”  Mr. Joseph Langone, BMS Principal, was also in attendance, giving high praise to the program. " I am beyond delighted that we have access to this amazing program through the hard work and dedicated efforts of Mrs. Casagrande. My sincere gratitude to NutriBullet for providing us this opportunity to partner with them in the interest of promoting healthy nutritional choices among our students.  I also want to recognize and thank all our staff, parents, and community partners who have collaborated with Mrs. Casagrande and assisted with the preparations and launch of NutriBullet University at Baird, especially Jordan Funke, Heather Ferrier-Bacon, Natalina Tulik, and Randall's Farm. Congratulations to all for a job truly well done!"

Ms. Kwork told the crowd that NutriBullet University is excited to embark on this journey with Baird Middle School, and the Ludlow community. “We hope that students can share this hands-on learning experience with friends and family at school and at home because they will have access to the NutriBullets in both environments.  A lot of learning for students through this program will happen at school, but the healthy behaviors can be solidified at home.  Healthy habits are very contagious!” Mrs. Casagrande explained that during the 90-day healthy eating program students will visit the NutriBullet University Blast Bar in room 265 daily to make nutritious vegetable and fruit-based NutriBlast smoothies for themselves before school. In addition, they will also receive information about the health benefits of each ingredient. She added, “the program is designed to help students improve their diets by increasing their daily intake of vegetables and fruits.  The ultimate goal is that this will become part of a healthy lifestyle that will follow them throughout their life.” Mrs. Natalina Tulik a parent of a student participant in the 90 day challenge gave high praise to the program commenting, “ I am so pleased to see this program in the school.  Since kids do not receive enough education on health and nutrition it is another opportunity for them to try healthier options and possibly make changes in their eating habits.  I am hoping it is something that can continue in the district as an option for lunch or breakfast after the 90 program comes to a close.” In addition, Mrs. Tulik is also a volunteer in the Lenore Paul Memorial Community School Garden at BMS  and shared, “ I am hoping that students realize the full circle of growing... to harvesting... to eating.  We are growing micro greens in our indoor lab and they should be ready in about 3 weeks for them to add to their smoothies!"

Mrs. Casagrande wanted to acknowledge that, “bringing this amazing opportunity to BMS students by the awarding of this grant has been a collaborative mission.” She went on to explain that she is “very grateful for the support of the entire BMS family and wanted to specifically thank, Jordan Funke, BMS Library Media Specialist, for her help with the creation of the winning video and taking charge of the ongoing media coverage during the 90 day challenge,  Mrs. Natalina Tulik, parent of a student participant, who shared this opportunity and has been a big part of the day to day logistics of bringing this program together, Randall’s Farm and Greenhouse for partnering with us to provide the produce, Ms. Heather Ferrier-Bacon, BMS Science Teacher, and Ms. Vanessa Roxo, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences graduate student, for their support with all of the day to day logistics.  And a special thank you to NutriBullet University for giving us this opportunity, and to the families who have encouraged their students to be part of this healthy living journey.”

The BMS NutriBullet University application video can be viewed by clicking here.  Mrs. Casagrande and Jordan Funke encourage, and welcome you, to follow the students on their 90 day challenge at the following media sites:

Instagram @bmsnbu, #bairdmiddleschool, #nutribulletuni

Twitter @bmsnutribullet, #bairdmiddleschool, #nutribulletuni


 Superintendent Gazda, Mrs. Casagrande, Jordan Funke, Ms. Gigi Kwork (NutriBullet), Principal Langone 


Mrs. Casagrande, Mrs. Anna (Randall) Arciszewski, Jordan Funke

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