Sustainable Agriculture Company Donates $38,000 in Grants to Local Entities
JUANA DIAZ, PR (September 28, 2015) – Committed to contribute to the safe and healthy development of Puerto Rican children, the Monsanto Fund donated $38,000 to two local non-governmental organizations dedicated to address the needs of this population.
The Fund, Monsanto Company’s philanthropic arm, donated $20,000 to Fondos Unidos’s ‘BienEstar’ Program, as well as $18,000 to special education institution STARBRIGHT Pals in Ponce. These were Monsanto Fund grants through the U.S. Site Grants program.
“We’re glad to see there are institutions that are concerned with the welfare and development of children, who are a very important component of our population,” shared Felix Heredia, pre-foundation seed site manager of Monsanto Caribe in Juana Díaz. “We at Monsanto stand behind them in that effort to engage our communities in a significant and positive manner. The Monsanto Fund allows us to be part of the solution.”
The Fondos Unidos’s ‘BienEstar’ Program trains teachers and assistants working in Care and Development Centers and families of the children about appropriate practices and creative ideas to foster nutrition and physical activity, including education and activities with children. According to data from the Puerto Rican delegates at the 2015 Yale University Global Health Leadership Institute Forum, in 2013, 17.9 percent of children aged two to four years were obese.
The ‘BienEstar’program’s general objectives are: 1) to train teachers and assistants on strategies to encourage children to incorporate in their eating habits more fruits and vegetables include presenting meals in a fun and creative way; 2) train teachers and assistants to provide at least 45 minutes of daily vigorously physical activity to the children they serve; 3) promote healthy eating style and physical activities to the family of participating children; and 4) stimulate children’s curiosity and learning activities to get a healthy lifestyle.
The Monsanto Fund grant will defray the program evaluation, staff salaries, educational materials and other administrative expenses.
“Healthy eating and exercise habits are usually formed from an early age. Through education we can give these children and their families the tools to access more balanced meals and help prevent childhood obesity,” said Samuel González, president of Fondos Unidos de Puerto Rico. “We’d like to thank Monsanto for joining us and helping to continue this project.”
The ‘BienEstar’ Program is already yielding good results. In 2014 the program visited 15 centers throughout Puerto Rico, reaching 245 children and 108 families.
STARBRIGHT Pals is an academic institution focused on providing primary educational services to special needs children, therapeutic and early stimulation services for infants, as well as post-secondary education services to autism teacher aides.
“We identified a need for alternative services to optimize the quality of life of children that suffer a deficiency or are at risk, as well as the members of his entourage,” said Iris Pons, Executive President of STARBRIGHT Academy. “Our community offers highly specialized services with a preventive vision to help raise healthy children as well as children with special needs, who require special care, in hands of professionals.”
STARBRIGHT Pals offers specialized services for children with attention deficit and autism, among others. The institution aims to provide a set of strategies planned with global and interdisciplinary character to respond to transitory or permanent needs caused by alterations in the development or deficiency in early childhood. The main objectives of this Center are promoting personal development, facilitate adaptation to the environment, and act proactively according to the child’s needs. STARBRIGHT is an academic organization authorized by the Puerto Rico Family Department and the General Council of Education. It has been recognized as the only institution in Puerto Rico authorized by the Puerto Rico Board of Education with a curriculum integrated and specialized in autism working under the ABA methodology. This method has been demonstrated as the most efficient and successful to work with children with speech and language disorders and development problems.
With the Monsanto Fund grant, STARBRIGHT Pals will develop a computer classroom.
“STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and computer skills and abilities are some of the most sought after qualifications in today’s job market. This computer classroom will provide our students with tools to complement their education and therapeutic plans, as well as succeed personally and, in the future, professionally. We’d like to thank Monsanto for helping us make this a reality.”
For more information on these and other Monsanto Corporate Giving Programs, see http://www.monsanto.com/whoweare/pages/corporate-giving.aspx.