"Two years ago, WITS launched ScratchWorks, a collective of school food professionals and nonprofits whose members forefront "scratch" cooking in school cafeterias — often in conjunction with farm-to-school initiatives that help schools figure out fresh local sourcing."
"A study on WITS schools in the NYC public school system found that students ate more fruits and vegetables; WITS schools also served less processed food than control groups."
"The goal is not to try to make kids eat food that they won’t like but to make things they already like healthier, and to instill an interest in cooking fresh, healthy food that carries over to the way the children eat at home."
""We got into a lot of high poverty schools and areas where there are food deserts, not a lot of fresh food available, and we give them lessons, life lessons of what healthy eating is, and that's what it's about," says Telepan."
"The New York City-based WITS program for the past 12 years has been committed to increasing access to healthier food through school lunches where, says Executive Director Nancy Easton, “chicken fingers and processed food have become the norm.” "
"There’s data that speaks to the program’s success, too. After two years, schools with WITS saw a 39 percent increase in fruits and vegetables being eaten at lunch and a 62 percent increase of pro-social behavior at recess. Data also shows that kids get on task much quicker after lunch and recess with the healthy changes."
"It's one of the best organizations in America, and here in New York they're in 100 schools. They're helping to develop a great menu, made with vegetables, fruit, at the same dollar amount as the regular menu. So yes, we can feed our children better."
"I knew I had to do something. I knew it was time to dive in."
With varied programming that provides nutritional education to NYC's students, WITS brings important resources where they are needed most.Kirsten Gillibrand, US Senate, New York
The way we eat in this country has to change for everyone. For that to happen, it has to start at a young age. Wellness in the Schools is pioneering that change.Nick Marsh, CEO, Chop't Creative Salad Company and WITS Chef Partner
My daughter was lucky enough to make curried cauliflower soup with her class through WITS last week and loved it! She had seconds and was so excited to bring me the recipe. What an amazing gift you have given our schools. Thank you!Gail Simmons, WITS Parent, food writer, and judge on Top Chef
WITS has been a key part in the turnaround of the school – they give kids a more well-rounded awareness of what life is about. It’s not just about reading and writing, but about all these other aspects of life; we have to take care of ourselves mentally, physically, and emotionally, and a lot of that stems from nutrition. And WITS really helps make school what it is meant to be – a fun learning environment.Principal Natalia Russo, PS 145/West Prep Academy
The partnership between WITS and my child’s school has provided an amazing framework for ongoing discussions about nutrition, food sourcing, cooking, environmental activism, and children's physical play.Christina Latici, Parent & Garden Committee Co-Chair, PS 3
Your program redefined food for the students, their families, and the school. You have changed the way that students view whole foods.Sarah Fromentin, Teacher, PS 133 and PS 20
You have introduced our students to food that they would not have had the opportunity to eat and enjoy. You are changing lives; one at a time, day by day.Principal Cecilia Kaplinsky, PS 216 Brooklyn
- CBS News: Give a Kid a Knife and He May Eat More Carrots
- USDA Blog: A Case Study in Wellness at PS 145- Supporting Schools and Supporting Nutrition Standards
- Wall Street Journal: Upscale Dining in School Cafeterias
- Fox 5: Food and Kids
- The Atlantic: How to Cook a Real Chicken Nugget (and why)
- Food Management: Chefs Empower Schools and Students to Improve Food
- The Village Voice: Handle With Care: Bill Telepan’s Success Has Been in Building Community
- The Miami Herald: Child Wellness Expert Visits Coral Gables
- National Farm to School Network: First Graders Don’t Care Much About Michelin Stars
- CBS Miami: Trend Tracker Talks Kids Fitness with Nancy Easton
- The Daily Meal: Wellness in Our Schools: What Parents Can Do