Sodexo Foundation Youth Grants Position Young People as Leaders in Finding Solutions to Childhood Hunger

by March 12, 2012

health-education-GDN-greater-diversity-newsYSA (Youth Service America) and Sodexo Foundation have awarded 77 Sodexo Foundation Youth Grants to young people nationwide to support youth-led service projects designed to reduce childhood hunger in America. Projects will take place as part of Global Youth Service Day, April 20-22, 2012, an international service event celebrating the contributions of children and youth.

Sodexo Foundation Youth Grant recipients range in age from seven to 18 and hail from across the country. They will lead a diverse array of projects, such as:
“Bag It!,” led by Lomari D. of the Well Community Development Corporation in Hampstead, N.C.— In Lomari’s words: “I’m seven years old, I like helping people and I like food. When I  heard about kids not always having food to eat, I asked my mom what I could do to help…[my] project fills book bags with food for kids to take home on the weekends when they are hungry…I will talk to stores about giving book bags and donating food.”
“Chef’s Playtime,” led by the teens of Brainfood, Washington, D.C.—Teen members of the after-school healthy food program “Brainfood” will partner with the Homeless Children’s Playtime Project for a demo on how homeless kids can make healthy food choices for themselves.
“Malcolm Greenhouse Project,” led by 16 year-old Shana of Sault Sainte-Marie, Mich.—At Malcolm High School, where the majority of students are on free or reduced lunch, the Malcolm Green House Project will engage students in growing fresh vegetables to supplement school lunches and their local food pantry.
As part of each project, grantees educate and mobilize their peers around the issue of childhood hunger, expanding the pool of people actively searching for solutions to the problem. Sodexo Foundation Youth Grants position young people directly as problem-solvers in this crisis that affects their generation.
“There is a lot to be said for the frequently referenced proverb ‘it takes a village to raise a child,’” said Robert A. Stern, president, Sodexo Foundation. “But, sometimes it takes a child to raise awareness; awareness about the challenges of its own generation. That is exactly what these inspiring youth leaders are doing in the fight against childhood hunger during Global Youth Service Day.”
“We owe it to our kids, to ourselves and to our future to invest in a culture where kids are expected to be a part of solving their community’s toughest problems,” stated Steven A. Culbertson, YSA president and CEO. “Through Sodexo Foundation Youth Grants, Sodexo Foundation and YSA are activating the immense creativity, drive and commitment of young people who are working to address the childhood hunger crisis in America.”
The competitive grants were open to young people in the United States who proposed projects that directly and measurably address the issue of childhood hunger in local communities. In addition to funding, grantees receive project support, toolkits and planning resources from YSA to ensure the success of projects.
Sodexo Foundation increased the number of Youth Grants awarded this year by 55% funding a total of 127 Sodexo Foundation Youth Grants since the inception of the partnership.
Celebrating 25 years of youth changing the world, YSA (Youth Service America) improves communities by increasing the number and the diversity of young people, ages 5 to 25, serving in substantive roles. •
Through campaigns, grant programs, resource development and training opportunities, YSA promotes a global culture of engaged youth committed to a lifetime of service, learning, leadership and achievement. Sponsored by YSA, Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) is a campaign that celebrates and mobilizes the millions of children and youth who improve their communities each day of the year through service and service-learning. GYSD 2012 will be held on April 20-22 in more than 100 countries on six continents. For more information, visit and 
Sodexo in North America   Sodexo, Inc. (, leading Quality of Daily Life Solutions company in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, delivers On-site Service Solutions in Corporate, Education, Health Care, Government, Remote Site segments and Motivation Solutions such as Esteem Pass. Sodexo, Inc., headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md., funds all administrative costs for Sodexo Foundation (, an independent charitable organization that, since its founding in 1999, has made more than $17 million in grants to end childhood hunger in America. Visit the corporate blog at

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