Focus Areas

Health, Wellness & Care

The Healthy Body-Healthy Mind initiative was created by NCCP with the awareness that academic success is highly correlated with student health-related factors such as, “hunger, physical and emotional abuse, and chronic illness,” as stated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With 28.7% of residents living below the poverty line, 65% of school age students classified as “low income” and only 52% of students meeting or exceeding academic standards, NCCP met the implicit call to action with a pilot initiative designed to increase awareness of the strong connection between student health and academic success. This initiative is a year-long program offering an assortment of school-based enrichment and educational opportunities for children and adults in the area of health and wellness. The program encompasses such offerings as:

  • Family-friendly health fairs
  • Healthy cooking classes
  • Exercise classes
  • Thanksgiving Dinner Kit distributions
  • After School Enrichment Program lessons on nutrition, hygiene and exercise

Healthy Body-Healthy Mind also includes several programs that meet the ongoing needs of the school community such as the:

Student Care Closet: The Student Care Closet (SCC) provides students with uniforms, school supplies, hygiene and other items as needed. From July 2015-June 2016, 127 units, including; clothing, backpacks, school supply and hygiene kits were distributed. 

Family Care Closet: The Family Care Closet (FCC) is located at North Chicago Community High School and is open on Tuesdays from 3:30-5:00 PM. Families enrolled in CUSD 187 are invited to visit the FCC one time per month for non-perishable food items, personal hygiene items, household items and school supplies. 

  • NCCP provided the start-up funding and actively manages the FCC along with the support of community and NCCHS volunteers. 
  • Food items are purchased through the Northern Illinois Food Bank (NIFB) using contributions from Shields Township/Phoenix Rising Foundation, First Presbyterian Church and several private donors. 
  • Non-food items are donated in-kind through collections organized by a number of NCCP partners. 
  • The collaboration behind the FCC allowed for 1,532 shopper visits between July 2015-June 2016. 
Weekend Food Program:Participating students are identified in collaboration with principals, teachers and social workers and receive a backpack to take home for the weekend, filled with nutritious and easy-to-prepare food items. The backpack and food are provided by the NIFB at no cost to NCCP. In 2015-2016 we distributed 1,828 backpacks, serving 79 families. 

Vision Program: From August 2015 through June 2016, hundreds of students received hearing and vision screenings. Of those who received vision screenings, 71 students were referred to an optometrist and/or received a new pair of glasses. 

Family Health and Wellness Open Houses: These events are implemented two times a year at all school sites. All teachers, students and families from the host school are invited to attend these events that feature exercise classes and hands-on activities related to nutrition, health and hygiene. With the help of community volunteers, NCCP also creates a “grocery store” in each school stocked with purchased food from the NIFB’s mobile food pantry