Ingham County program keeps youth active

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By Breanna Bishop
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer

LANSING — The Ingham County Finance Committee approved a grant for the MSU Extension’s 4-H Program, JIFF in February 2012.The grant was funded by the MSU Extension Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Education! (SNAP-Ed).

JIFF (Jump into Foods and Fitness) is an after-school program for children in grades 3-5 in community centers and schools in Ingham County. The 7-year-old program focuses on educating children about nutrition and fitness.

The money will help maintain the program and pay staffers, said Stephanie Reuter, 4-H Program assistant.

“JIFF is a Michigan 4-H curriculum, but other states use it,” said Reuter. “Ingham County 4-H received the grant funds from a Michigan 4-H state office and there are other counties that receive those funds also…we have the same grant guidelines that we have to follow, but we are allowed to design the program how we feel it would best serve the community.”

Foster Community Center in Lansing benefits from JIFF and has more students registering than can enroll each time, said Program Coordinator Jodi Ackerman.

“I know our kids get a lot of nutrition information that they may not otherwise get,” said Ackerman. “They get exposure to some healthy foods and some exercise and fitness that they may not get exposure to in other ways. It also provides information that goes home with them, so parents get that information, as well.

The program is part of the Michigan State University’s outreach component of the 4-H program, which hosts a variety of programs that serve the community. The 4-H started as a way of connecting new ideas to rural communities, said Children Youth Family Consortium (CYFC) Communications Manager Michelle Lavra.

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