Using Education to Create Healthy Lifestyles

Study after study shows that when students come to school hungry, it is harder for them to focus and learn at the levels of which they are capable. In some cases, students may have access to food, but the food lacks the nutrients they need to live a healthy lifestyle. Much of the east side of Indianapolis is considered a food desert, an area where there is little access to fresh foods or grocery stores, and it is difficult for families to get nutritious food at affordable prices within a reasonable distance. This includes Martindale-Brightwood and the surrounding neighborhoods where 80 percent of KIPP Indy students live. This means that many of our students and families may not have access to fresh fruits, vegetables, and other foods that make up a healthy diet. That is why KIPP Indy teacher, Ronak Shah, partnered with The Kitchen Community to help bring a Learning Garden to our school. “A Learning Garden is a school garden that provides an opportunity for us to not only grow edible food here at school, but allows us to teach students and families how to grow a variety of foods at their own homes and in their own gardens” Ronak went on to say that the garden would be available to teachers throughout the school to use for their lessons, and he especially looks forward to taking his students out to the garden for units covering earth and environmental science. Ronak knew that in order to start a school garden, it would be necessary to have the additional support of community partners. When The Kitchen Community, an...

Meet KIPP Indy: Brianna Aikens

Brianna Aikens did not always know that she wanted to be a teacher at KIPP Indy, but she did know that she wanted to work with kids on the east side of Indianapolis. Growing up and attending school in Warren Township, Bri and her family were part of the community here on the east side. As the oldest of all of her siblings and cousins, she was often asked to babysit and care for her younger family members, and this instilled in her a deep love for working with children. That’s why when Bri was accepted to the Ball State School of Education, she decided to major in Early Childhood Education. After graduation, Bri got her first position teaching preschool at the Edna Martin Christian Center (EMCC), a community organization in the Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood on the east side of Indianapolis dedicated to bridging cultural, racial, and economic differences in order to support and nurture the people in the community by providing holistic programs that empower, encourage, and engender a vision of hope. During her first year at EMCC, Bri was able to realize the love that she has for working with the students in our community, and through her work she discovered our schools. “I loved teaching at EMCC because of the relationship they have with the community and the impact I was able to have with my students, and I knew that I would be able to have a similar experience with KIPP. I was still in contact with one of my professors from Ball State, and she told me that one of her former students taught at...