HAZLET — Sustainable Jersey for Schools representatives announced that Hazlet Middle School has been awarded a Sustainable Jersey for Schools Small Grant to fund the school’s Mindfulness Garden project. Hazlet Middle School is one of 30 schools in New Jersey to receive the grant, which is funded by the state Department of Health.
The Mindfulness Garden project will benefit the entire school community of more than 450 students and 50 faculty and staff members. The revision of the courtyard space will be sustained over future years and available to all students and classes.
“We feel very fortunate to have received a Sustainable Jersey grant. We had an idea for the Mindfulness Garden because we strive to educate the whole child and wanted to integrate creative, instructional opportunities for our teachers to use with students. In partnership with the project leaders, our kids will be the designers, gardeners and peer leaders to bring an outdoor, living learning space to the Hazlet Middle School community. We all can’t wait to get started,” said Christine McCoid, principal of Hazlet Middle School, in a press release.
The funds from the Sustainable Jersey grant will be used to support the formation of garden and yoga clubs; train the school’s counselor to be a certified youth yoga instructor; plan and create a school vegetable and flower garden; design and build a mindfulness corner; and support the ongoing care of the courtyard garden space.
The Hazlet Department of Public Works Clean Communities Coordinator has partnered with Hazlet Middle School and will assist with training opportunities, support of master gardeners and donations of supplies and services.
“This grant is just one more example of the Board of Education’s commitment to instill in its students environmentally sustainable practices that best serve our community in the long run,” said Dr. Bernard F. Bragen Jr., superintendent of schools.
Currently, 207 districts and 516 schools have registered to work toward Sustainable Jersey for Schools certification.
“Sustainable schools are healthy schools, and schools that promote health and well-being will see benefits,” said Donna Drewes, who co-directs Sustainable Jersey with Randall Solomon. “These grants funded by the New Jersey Department of Health will support schools as they tackle important health and wellness actions.”
The New Jersey Department of Health is funding the grants through its Maternal and Child Health Services Title V Block Grant. Technical assistance to grant recipients will be provided by three of the Department of Health’s regional partners: AtlantiCare (south), EmPoWER Somerset (central) and The Center for Prevention and Counseling (north).
Sustainable Jersey for Schools is a certification program for public schools in New Jersey. It was launched by Sustainable Jersey, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that provides tools, training and financial incentives to support and reward municipalities and schools as they pursue sustainability programs. Currently, 207 school districts and 516 schools in New Jersey are participating in the program. For more information, visit www.sustainablejerseyschools.com.