The mission of Brighter Bites is to create communities of health through fresh food and the goal is to change behavior among children and their families to prevent obesity and achieve long-term health. Brighter Bites uses a three-part formula rooted in science and developed for impact:
Produce Distribution + Nutrition Education + Fun Food Experience
Brighter Bites channels donated produce to families by implementing fresh fruit and vegetable co-ops in schools, preschools, community centers, and summer camps, and combines this with hands on nutrition education at home and in schools, supporting the implementation of the Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH) curriculum. Each week, for 16 weeks during the school year and eight weeks during the summer, families receive 25-30 pounds of 8-12 different varieties of seasonal produce plus tips, tools, and recipes on how to use it. They also have an opportunity to taste a healthy and delicious recipe prepared using produce items in the bag each week during produce pick up time. Brighter Bites aims to build demand for fresh produce in the communities it serves with repeated exposure to a variety of fruits and vegetables and easy, family-friendly recipes to keep kids asking for more.
And it’s working! Shreela and her research team at UT study every family who participates in our program and they’ve reported the changes they’ve made as a result of Brighter Bites! The data shows that 98% of parents in Houston said that their children ate more fruits and vegetables while participating in the Brighter Bites program during the 2015-16 school year. Of those, 93% said they were able to maintain that increased level after the Brighter Bites season ended. Brighter Bites is having a true impact on the community!
Since 2012, Brighter Bites has delivered more than 14 million pounds of fresh fruits and veggies and 100,000s of nutrition education materials to more than 30,000 families in Houston, Dallas, and Austin.
This fall, as Brighter Bites celebrates its 5th anniversary, the program will expand beyond its Texas borders to launch in New York, Washington, D.C., and Southwest Florida. Pretty soon, our movement will be taking a bite out of every state in the nation!
The First Tee of Greater Houston utilizes mentoring to foster character building, life skills and wellness through the fun and engaging platform of golf. There are many important causes that help youth but, few benefit every single child regardless of ability, income, geography, etc. Open to all youth ages 7-18 in greater Houston, our program is rooted in The First Tee Nine Core Values of: Honesty, Integrity, Sportsmanship, Respect, Confidence, Responsibility, Perseverance, Courtesy, Judgment. To address physical, emotional and social aspects, we also incorporate these Nine Healthy Habits: Energy, Play, Safety, Vision, Mind, Family, Friends, School and Community. This program is cost effective because volunteer adult role models teach age and developmentally appropriate research-based curriculum with proven outcomes that create better students and better citizens who are more prepared for life.
More than doubling in size over the past two years, we need help to close the funding gap that has resulted from our programmatic success of serving over 300,000 youth annually – more than any other in a national network of 170. Please help us reach our vision to ensure life skills, core values, healthy habits and character development remain accessible for all interested youth in Houston.
Most people assume that homeless kids are runaways who don’t want to follow the rules at home or are juvenile delinquents who are in trouble. The youth we support are kids who are running from home or being asked to leave homes characterized by abuse, neglect, family conflict, or parental drug and alcohol abuse. Once on the streets, such youth are at risk of being sexually exploited or abused for pleasure or profit. In addition, youth may engage or be forced to participate in shoplifting, survival sex, or drug dealing in order to provide for basic needs. Since September 2016, The Pink Giraffe House has been providing services to runaway, homeless and street youth designed to support and assist such youth in making healthy choices in a safe environment that helps them survive and thrive.
TPGH is a private, community-based, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose goal is to provide high quality services to homeless youth in a non-judgmental, culturally sensitive manner.
The Woods Project (TWP) was founded to provide low-income high school students from the Houston, Texas area with transformative experiences in the outdoors. Beginning in 2006 with a ten-day trip to Yosemite National Park with 11 students, The Woods Project now serves approximately 700 students each year through after-school, weekend and summer programs. Through its programming, TWP seeks to offer low-income students the kind of access to outdoor spaces and recreational activities that are more common among their higher-income peers. By challenging students to spend time outside, rely on their peers, step up to leadership roles, spend days or weeks away from their families and mobile devices, understand and care for the natural environment, and undertake the physical and mental challenges of outdoor recreation, The Woods Project helps students develop the following seven character traits that research suggests correlate strongly with success in school, in the workplace and in life.
Independence/Self control: To independently make decisions and think through consequences
Critical Thinking: to work through complex challenges and ask the questions necessary to achieve a solution
Social Intelligence: To work with others to achieve common goals
Adaptability: To embrace and function effectively in new environments
Grit/Perseverance: To accept failure without accepting defeat
Zest/Curiosity: To be more outwardly focused, more engaged and enthusiastic in school, the community and the world around them
Environmental Awareness: To develop a strong connection with nature and an understanding of the relationship between science and the environment in school, the community and the wider world
Developing these seven traits in our students is the ultimate goal of The Woods Project, and our success in this goal is what has allowed us to grow in students, volunteers, and partners year after year.