MSU Campaigns Project- The FIT Program – Creative Strategy – Activities and Events


“FIT For Me, FIT For You” creative marketing activities will include a FIT Agenda, FIT Back-to-School Kick Off Event, FIT Sponsored Recesses, FIT Lesson Plans, FIT Fun Nights, and FIT Kits.

FIT Agendas

“FIT For Me, FIT For You” Daily Academic Agendas / Wellness Journals will be provided to all third through fifth grade students and will be distributed by teachers.

Agendas will emphasize the “FIT For Me, FIT For You” theme by showing students how to include physical activity and nutrition into their daily life, in a way that works for them (regardless of cultural background or socioeconomic status)! Providing these daily academic agendas in place of the traditional school agendas will help keep the FIT Program at “top of mind.”

Students will use these agendas daily; teachers and parents will also see them when signing off on assignments. “FIT For Me, FIT For You” will not only be a daily academic agenda, but also a wellness journal in that will allow students to keep track of both their school work and their healthy choices!

The wellness journal content will be incorporated in the daily academic planning sections and will be highly interactive. It will provide healthy tips and activities for children to participate in, as well as actual “journal” sections where students are able to reflect in their personal journey to FIT Program success (reflective essays, drawings, etc.).  Students will be encouraged to participate in these activities by providing FIT Program branded incentives and prizes.

FIT personnel will visit each third to fifth grade classroom weekly to sign off on and award FIT agenda participation. The classroom with the most FIT participation at each school will receive a Wii and a Wii Fit as a special gift from the FIT Program!

“FIT For Me, FIT For You” Daily Academic Agendas/ Wellness Journals are also a great marketing opportunity in that FIT Program objectives and activities can be listed! Children, teachers, and parents will always have the opportunity to know what’s going on in the FIT Program.  Furthermore, a brief introduction of the FIT Program will be placed the beginning of the agenda/wellness journal for reference for students and parents.

The FIT Program will work with the Grand Rapids School District to ensure that these agendas correspond with all Grand Rapids Public Schools’ agenda guidelines, listing all relevant school events and activities.


We’ve developed an event series, all to be held at the Grand Rapids YMCA, which is currently a FIT Program sponsor.

FIT Back-to-School Kick-Off Event
The FIT Back-to-School Kick-Off Event will involve third through fifth graders attending all participating Grand Rapids schools, their families, as well as sponsors and community members, who are also welcome to attend the event with no admission fee.

This event will feature light competitive fun with activities for attendees of all ages such as “FIT Food Art,” a grocery store scavenger hunt for kids, the “FIT Food Test”- taste test to find healthy and unhealthy versions of popular cultural foods, “Grocery Challenge” with gift card prizes for adults, cultural dance lessons, a healthy cooking seminar featuring cultural foods and fun physical activities.

Prizes and free FIT promotional material will be given to each participant.
Translators will be present to assist Spanish-speaking attendees.

FIT Fun Nights
FIT Fun Nights are free of charge and will include a variety of fun, social, physical and educational activities that are specifically designed to be culturally appropriate. Healthy food and FIT-branded prizes will be provided at these events as an incentive for attendance.

FIT Fun Nights will hold activities for both adults and children such as cultural dance classes, cooking classes, seminars for raising a healthy family, and educational games and activities. Translators will be present for Spanish speaking attendees.


FIT Sponsored Recess

As an effort to increase knowledge of the FIT Program and to encourage students and school staff to participate in physical activity, the FIT Program will sponsor organized activities during students’ recess period on a weekly basis. Although the FIT Program targets students in grades third through fifth, all students, staff and parent volunteers are invited to join.

At FIT Sponsored Recess participants will engage in interactive exercise, learn about healthy lifestyles, and have fun. Participation in recess activities will be encouraged through incentives such as healthy snacks, educational materials, awards, and prize give-a-ways!

FIT Sponsored Recess Activities are a great match for our “FIT For Me, FIT For You” theme, showing children that living a healthy lifestyle through participating in physical activity can be social and fun.

English to Spanish translation will be provided at all relevant recesses. We recognize that some schools may not need such service.

For the remaining four recesses each week that the FIT Program is not sponsoring, boxes of FIT-branded recess supplies will be provided to each classroom for student use. These FIT-branded supplies will include jump ropes, soccer balls, basketballs, and footballs.

Example Recess Activity: Recess Challenges!

Several stations are set up with different challenges and activities.  During a FIT Sponsored Recess, the students are encouraged to choose a challenge.  He/she may set a goal or estimate what score he/she will attain.  He/she will be responsible for tallying his/her own score for each challenge using the life skills of responsibility and honesty.  Students work with a partner.  At the end of the recess period, the students and FIT personnel tally the scores from each station and find the average for each station for the day.  The students get a FIT-branded prize for their participation.

Students are encouraged to return to the FIT Sponsored Activity to continue the challenge the following week.  At the end of the month FIT Program personnel will assess which students have met their goals, and /or tallied the most points. These students will receive FIT Awards.

FIT Recess Challenge participation can also include community members, parents, teachers, principals, etc.

Examples of recess stations:
• Jump Rope: How many jumps in one minute?
• Basketball: How many baskets made in one minute?
• Walk/Jog/Run: How many laps around the track?
• Hula Hoop: How many minutes without a miss?
• Push-ups: How many push-ups in one minute?
• Pull-ups: How many pull-ups in one minute?
• Jump across: How many times can you jump across the line in one minute?
• Step-ups: How many times can you step up and down on the box or curb in one minute?
• Number Ball: Partners throw a ball with numbers 1-9 marked all over it.  When the partner catches the ball, he/she adds the number under his/her right thumb to the running sum.  What is your final sum in one minute?

FIT Sponsored Recesses will also try to incorporate educational material when possible. Some Michigan Grade Level Content Expectations concepts practiced during our example activity are measurement, number operations, averaging, estimating, and predication.  The fitness component in the challenges meets the FIT Program’s principles and health education needs of the students.

FIT Lesson Plans

“FIT For Me, FIT For You” will be brought into the classroom through interactive lesson plans stressing the importance of either physical activity or nutrition.

Lesson plans will comply with Michigan Grade Level Content Expectations and will be taught by FIT volunteers; teachers will be excited because they are required to teach these topics and classroom activities will be planned and executed for them.
FIT Volunteers be recruited from MSU’s Education seniors, participation in teaching will be good for their resume and a great learning experience.

Lesson plans to be used in the classroom provide further marketing for the program in that FIT volunteers will introduce the program before beginning the lesson, children will share with others what they have learned, and many of the lesson plans involve students creating FIT-branded work for school display (please see example lesson plans for reference).  Translators will be present to assist Spanish-speaking students when applicable.

Example FIT Lesson Plans:

Third Grade Lesson Plan: Aerobic and Anaerobic Activity

Lesson Curricular Connection: Health/ Science

Michigan Grade Level Content Expectations:
S.IA.03.13: Communicate and present findings of observations and investigations.
S.RS.03.11: Demonstrate scientific concepts through various illustrations, performances, models, exhibits, and activities.

Objective of Lesson:
Children will discuss and demonstrate the differences between aerobic and anaerobic exercises, identify aerobic and anaerobic activities they enjoy, and discuss the importance of participating in both aerobic and anaerobic activities.

Points to Emphasize:
Aerobic activities are those that make you breathe deeply for an extended period of time, while anaerobic activities are those that strengthen the body and cannot be performed for long periods of time.

Chart paper, art supplies, whistle, and beanbags (one for each child).

1)    Begin a discussion with children about a track meet. Ask children if they are familiar with these two running events: the 100-meter dash and the marathon. Discuss the similarities and differences between the two races. Graph the information using a Venn diagram. To create the Venn diagram, draw two overlapping circles on a piece of chart paper or on a board. Label the circles “100-meter dash” and “marathon.”
2)    Ask children:
•    Which race is faster?
•    Which race takes longer?
•    Which race requires more energy in a shorter period of time?
•    Which race requires more energy over a longer period of time?
3)    Record children’s responses in the appropriate circles. If an answer applies to both races, record the information in the intersection of the circles.
4)    Guide children in reading the graphic organizer by explaining that in the 100-meter dash, a runner uses lots of energy to run as fast as he or she can over a short period of time. The athlete may get tired faster. That is, they will feel their heart beating faster. Their breath will be deeper and faster, usually after the race, to make up the oxygen debt for the energy used during the sprint. Tell children this is called “anaerobic” activity. It literally means “without oxygen.”
5)    Now, turn the discussion toward the marathon runner. Explain that this athlete needs energy to burn over a longer period of time. Since the runner is going much slower, the energy is utilized on a “pay as you go” basis over a long period of time. The duration of this run far exceeds that of the sprinter. Tell children this is called “aerobic” activity, which means “with oxygen.”
6)    To help children fully understand the difference between aerobic and anaerobic activities, perform the following game. Have children stand on a line in your room or outside.
7)    Ask children to sprint as fast as they can to the finish line. Once they reach the finish line, give them a few minutes to “catch their breath.” Ask children to describe how it felt to perform this activity. Was their heart beating fast? Were they out of breath?
8)    Next, ask them to jog (not run!) a few easy laps on a pre-designed jogging track or around the playing area.
9)    When they complete the second run, ask them to walk one lap then to sit down. Ask children how it felt to perform this activity. How do their hearts feel? Are they out of breath? Ask children which activity is easier to sprint and which would be harder to sprint. Why might this be so?
10)     Back in the classroom, invite children to create a chart that lists the different aerobic and anaerobic activities (both in and outside of school) that they enjoy. Post in the classroom. Ask students to label charts “FIT Program- Fun Exercises.”
11)     Using the list, have children keep a log for one week in which they keep track of all of the aerobic and anaerobic activities that they do and how performing them makes them feel.
12)     When the week is up, ask them to set a personal goal to increase their aerobic and anaerobic fitness.

Activity Outcomes:
•    What is an aerobic activity? An anaerobic activity?
•    Name activities that have a long duration and also activities that have a short duration.
•    What activities make you tired fast? What activities do not make you tired fast?
•    Why is aerobic and anaerobic exercise important?

Fourth Grade Lesson Plan: Eat Right! Nutrition Activity

Lesson Curricular Connection: Health/ Science

Michigan Grade Level Content Expectations:
L.OL.04.16 Determine that animals and humans require air, water, and a source of energy.

Objective of Lesson:
The student will explain how nutrition affects personal health. Key concepts include the importance of balance, variety, and moderation in a meal plan. This lesson requires students to use their knowledge of the food groups and the Food Pyramid to understand nutritious eating and to plan a healthy meal.

Food Pyramid reference sheets, large construction paper, magazines, advertising supplements, supermarket fliers, scissors, and glue.

1)    Distribute the Food Pyramid and discuss with the class the kinds of food in each level and what the triangular shape means.  Explain why nutritious eating is an important part of a healthy lifestyle.
2)    Distribute empty food pyramid triangles drawn on large pieces of construction paper to each group.
3)    Have students scan magazines and other illustrated, consumable materials for pictures of food. Then ask them to cut out the pictures, sort them according to the food groups, and paste the pictures in the appropriate areas of the Food Pyramid as suggested.
4)    At the bottom of the large construction paper, groups should create a healthy “meal” by pasting additional images of food, students should consult the Food Pyramid.
5)    Have students write “The FIT Program Teaches Healthy Living” at the top of their work. Collages should be hung in the cafeteria.

Activity Outcomes:
•    What are the major food groups?
•    What should you eat the most of in a day? The least of? Why?
•    How does nutrition affect your health?
•    How does your daily diet compare to the Food Pyramid’s recommendations? Is it similar? Or do you eat a lot different?
•    What can you do to change your eating habits in a healthy way?

Fifth Grade Lesson Plan: Mapping, Means & Multiples with Movement Skills and Fitness Activities

Lesson Curricular Connection: Math

Michigan Grade Level Content Expectations:
N.ME.05.12 Find the product of two unit fractions with small denominators using an area model.
N.MR.05.13 Divide a fraction by a whole number and a whole number by a fraction, using simple unit fractions.
N.FL.05.14 Add and subtract fractions with unlike denominators through 12 and/or 100, using the common denominator that is the product of the denominators of the 2 fractions.
N.FL.05.18 Use mathematical statements to represent an applied situation involving addition and subtraction of fractions.

Objective of Lesson:
Students will learn how to use fractions effectively while discovering healthy recipes!

Chart paper, markers, FIT Program Healthy Recipe Books, bananas, cocoa powder, and unsweetened coconut.

1)    Review the FIT Program Healthy Recipe Book with students, making a point to explain why healthy cooking is important.
2)    Group students into teams with four members each, supplying each student with a FIT Program Healthy Recipe Book to be used for this activity. Books are for children to keep and share with their families. Have each group pick their favorite recipe and assess if there are enough ingredients listed to feed 50 people.
3)    Have students use a function table to calculate how much the recipe would have to be increased.
4)    Ask students to write their new recipe on the chart paper provided and present their calculations to the class.
5)    Write the FIT Program Healthy Recipe Book’s “Cocoa-Nut Bananas” recipe and serving size on the board. Have students help increase the ingredients in this recipe to prepare enough for the entire class. Make sure to write the new recipe on the board so it is visible for the class.
6)    Explain to students that because they did such a good job calculating the ingredients needed for the “Cocoa-Nut Bananas” the class gets to make this healthy treat! Be sure to explain why “Cocoa-Nut Bananas” can be a great addition to a healthy diet.
7)    Send 2 students from each group to measure and bring the correct ingredients to the rest of the group. Give students step-by-step instructions while they prepare their treat.

Activity Outcomes:
•    How did you calculate the correct ingredients for the recipes?
•    When will you use these calculations again?
•    What else did you learn?
•    Why is healthy eating important?

Ask that students use the FIT Program Healthy Recipe Book to cook with their families at home. Recipes should be altered and calculated for a different serving size than what is listed in the book. Brief reflection papers should be written on this assignment. Make sure to tell students to refrain from using the stove, oven, or sharp utensils without parental supervision.

FIT in the Cafeteria

The FIT message will be incorporated in the cafeteria and in the Federal Free and Reduced-Price Lunch Program.  This is a great match for our campaign because as our situation analysis states, most children are eating school-provided foods.

FIT Nutrition Coaches will work with the district’s food program to ensure healthy meals are provided to students.  Coaches will also be available during one lunch period per week to answer children’s nutrition questions and assist with healthy food choices.

“FIT Approved” stickers will be placed on all healthy cafeteria food options to assist students in healthy food selection.  “FIT Approved” healthy cafeteria food listings will also be posted in the cafeteria and in lunch lines.

FIT Kits

FIT Kits will be provided to local establishments in the Grand Rapids Community to begin independent FIT Program participation. Establishments provided FIT Kits include churches, other schools, and sponsoring organizations.

Kits will include all necessary, appropriate materials for unique FIT participation:
•    Health and fitness information
•    Activities
•    Prizes
•    Banner to show involvement

School Staff/Program Communication Facilitation
Quarterly school staff meetings will assist staff in keeping up with current FIT happenings, and will allow feedback on our program.

Staff involvement will also include brief FIT Program training sessions to assist with the implementation of the intervention components. During these meetings, FIT Program’s goals and agenda will be introduced and staff will be taught how to best implement FIT’s agenda. Food and FIT-branded give-a-ways will be provided as an incentive for attendance.


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MSU Campaigns Project- The FIT Program – Creative Strategy – Theme and Marketing Materials


Campaign Theme

Our campaign for the FIT Program is designed to encourage widespread participation by giving our audience the opportunity to fully embrace our theme, “FIT For Me, FIT For You.”  This theme is designed to emphasize that the FIT Program can be incorporated into our target audience’s daily life regardless of preferences, culture, or socioeconomic status.

This theme differentiates our program because it allows our target to understand how the FIT can work for them in a manner that they are comfortable with.

Our “FIT For Me, FIT For You” campaign will employ a very fun, colorful, creative look and feel that children, parents, and community members alike will be able to relate to. It will feature bright images of fruits and vegetables, emphasizing the fact that “FIT” does not strictly imply “fitness,” but rather the marriage of physical activity and nutrition which creates a healthy lifestyle.

Our “FIT For Me, FIT For You” theme will be the focus of marketing appeals, but there will be a unified specificity. The communication threads within the series will include:
1. Messages that focus on the ease of incorporating a healthy lifestyle into our target audience’s daily routine.
2. Messages that emphasize social bonding.

We believe that both threads will be effective. Those message appeals, dealing with incorporating a healthy lifestyle into our target audience’s daily routine without much compromise (monetary and personal preferences) would be effective due to the fact we are marketing to a low-income area with a strong cultural background.

And we’re confident that messages and events that encompass social bonding and community togetherness are also an effective choice, due to Grand Rapid’s high cultural and community organizational involvement.

All messages will be illustrated in both the Spanish and English languages because of Grand Rapid’s great language barrier.

FIT Marketing Materials

FIT marketing materials to be created include a variety of media platforms to insure FIT Program exposure to target audience members. This variety will include:

Basic Website

A web presence with a basic website is essential if we want to increase awareness and knowledge of the FIT Program. This website will also allow interested community members, potential sponsors, and the media to learn more about the FIT Program, help inform parents and children of upcoming events, and be a great resource for participating school teachers and employees. While it may be argued that a portion of our target audience does not have Internet access, schools and libraries have computers for the public to use.


Posters will be placed in schools, community centers, churches, and sponsor locations and will include advertising for the FIT Program and upcoming FIT events.  These posters will be a great way to increase both awareness and knowledge in our target audience. Posters may also help increase participation in events and activities. *See sample posters below.

Flyers will be used to introduce the FIT Program, advertise events, and increase knowledge. Flyers will be regularly distributed to teachers, keeping them up-to-date with FIT Program activities and providing fun tips and ideas on how to further educate students about the FIT Program. Teachers will be given flyers to distribute to their students in the classroom, exciting children by introducing fun FIT activities and events. Also, community centers, churches and possible sponsors will regularly receive FIT flyers for distribution.

Monthly supplemental FIT Program and healthy lifestyle information will be provided to school staff, allowing them to further their nutritional and fitness knowledge.

Students of all grade levels will also receive age-appropriate educational materials via the school’s weekly “take home” program. This information will include:
•    An introduction to the FIT Program
•    Invitations for upcoming FIT events
•    Informational material about relevant FIT activities and how to get involved
•    Parents will also find information catered to the family’s healthy lifestyle needs.

Prizes will be created with FIT Program branding, including branded water bottles, recipe books, activity books, stickers, t-shirts, awards, pencils, magnets, jump ropes and beach balls. These prizes will be distributed as an incentive for FIT participation.

Educational Programming
Educational videos created for school staff, families, students, and community leaders will be used to help enforce FIT Program principles.
•    Several episodes will be produced encompassing interactive physical fitness and nutrition through activities such as cooking demonstrations, fun exercise programs, FIT tips that can be used on a daily basis, and other fun educational material.
•    DVDs can be given away as prizes and incentives for FIT participation.
•    These videos will be aired on GRTV, Grand Rapid’s Public Access Station. Airing on GRTV is free! This is a great traditional media choice because our research has found that Grand Rapids residents spend more time watching television than any other medium.

Wall Charts
Teachers will receive a FIT-branded Wall Chart for classroom use. Wall charts are often used by teachers to record the classroom’s schedule in a way that all students can see. The FIT wall chart will include messages on incorporating FIT into the students’ daily lives. Wall Chart usage will further increase knowledge and awareness of the FIT Program because it will be used in the classroom on a daily basis.


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MSU Campaigns Project- The FIT Program – Objectives and Strategies



School Staff
Our FIT campaign will target school administrators and employees at Buchanan, Caesar Chavez, Campus, and Dickinson elementary schools. School staff serves as positive role models for students, and should be motivated and willing to fully participate in the FIT Program. This includes, but is not limited to, their own participation in FIT Program activities and involvement with students’ progression.

School staff will follow the FIT Program’s main focuses in improving the knowledge, self-efficacy, attitudes and beliefs on nutrition, physical activity, and health among parents, and youth.

The target audiences selected amongst students in the Grand Rapids Public Schools for the FIT Program’s implementation include third to fifth grade students attending Buchanan, Caesar Chavez, Campus, and Dickinson elementary schools.

Students are often excited by interesting, engaging topics at school, and are therefore likely to enjoy participation in FIT activities and share what they have learned with others in the Grand Rapids community.

Parents of the third through fifth grade students at Buchanan, Caesar Chavez, Campus, and Dickinson elementary schools also qualify as an important target audience.

Parents are an important target audience because if the FIT Program intrigues them, they are likely to support their student’s involvement in FIT activities. Parents will also spread the word of the FIT Program to other community members.

Surrounding Community Members
The Grand Rapids community surrounding Buchanan, Caesar Chavez, Campus and Dickinson elementary schools is a very important target audience for increased program knowledge. Building awareness, knowledge, and credibility for the FIT Program in this target audience can lead to increased participation at FIT events and further opportunity to obtain additional FIT Program sponsors.


Marketing Objective: To achieve 80% FIT Program participation in third through fifth grade students attending our targeted schools.


Communications Objective 1: To achieve 85% knowledge of the FIT Program among the staff at Buchanan, Caesar Chavez, Campus, and Dickinson elementary schools within one year.

Communications Objective 2: To achieve 70% knowledge of the FIT Program among third to fifth grade students at Buchanan, Caesar Chavez, Campus, and Dickinson elementary schools within the first year.

Communications Objective 3: To achieve 35% knowledge of the FIT Program among parents of third to fifth grade students attending our participating schools within one year.

Communications Objective 4: To achieve 15% knowledge of the FIT Program within a year in the Grand Rapids community as well as the surrounding community.

Note: knowledge is defined as logo recognition and the ability to recognize that FIT is a nutrition and fitness program.


Objective 1: To build awareness of the FIT Program in children, parents, and community members.

Strategy 1.1: Phases: (1) Children, (2) Parents, and (3) Community Members.

We will start with children to spread awareness to build enthusiasm; kids tend to look at things in a new and exciting way. This anticipation about the FIT Program will surely find its way home to parents and then continue to spread throughout the community.

Objective 2: To obtain knowledge about the FIT Program in teachers, students, parents, and community members.

Strategy 2.1: Phases: (1) Teachers, (2) Children, (3) Parents,  and (4) Community Members.

We would like to start with teachers when distributing knowledge because they will know how to best present this information to children. Most children will enjoy sharing their new expertise on the FIT Program to parents. This may peak parents’ interest to learn even more about FIT and/or talk about it with neighbors in their community.

Objective 3: To ensure belief in the FIT Program in teachers, children, parents and community members.

Strategy 3.1:  Phases: (1) Teachers, (2) Children, (3) Parents, and (4) Community Members.

The best way to teach children is by example. Getting teachers to believe in the FIT Program and practice it will encourage their students to lead healthier lifestyles as well. This motion will then extend to parents and family who may press others in their communities to follow suit.

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MSU Campaigns Project- The FIT Program – Situation Analysis


Grand Rapids Community

Grand Rapids is Michigan’s second largest city with more than one million residents in the metro area. From our research, we have found that the Grand Rapids community is one who enjoys strong social bonds, values culture, and is willing to participate in community activities.  The community has a high rate of involvement in cultural and community organizations.

The Latino and African American population of Grand Rapids has increased exponentially over the last few years; along with the growth in numbers, has come a real influence on the cultural life of the region.

West Michigan’s Latino community mounts a number of annual celebrations, including the Mexican Independence Festival, the Latino Art & Film Festival and the Hispanic Festival – the region’s largest ethnic festival – now in its 28th year. In 2005, the Grand Rapids Community Foundation awarded a $100,000 grant to renovate and expand The Hispanic Center of Western Michigan, which has served the community since 1978.

Michigan Black Expo, Inc. (MBEI) of Grand Rapids was founded in 1994 to help ensure that West Michigan enjoys the same vibrant multicultural quality of life as other world-class cities. The Woodrick Institute for the Study of Racism & Diversity, founded in 1999, has earned national recognition for helping area residents discover and confront the reality of racism in the United States. Community-wide celebrations include an African-American Cultural Festival and African-American Film Festival.

Grand Rapids Public Schools

As the Latino and African American communities increase, Latino and African American children continue to enroll in the Grand Rapids Public Schools. The ethnicities currently enrolled in our target schools are as follows:

• Latino- 84%
• African American- 9%
• Multiracial- 6%
• White- 1%

• African American- 76%
• Latino- 14%
• Multiracial- 8%
• White- 2%

• Latino- 82%
• Multiracial- 7%
• African American- 7%
• White- 3%

• African American- 85%
• Multiracial- 11%
• White- 4%
• Latino- >1%

Expectations and Challenges
The Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS) emphasize the importance of a good education, but face challenges other districts may not.

First of all, teachers must make sure their lesson plans stay on-course with Grade Level Content Expectations (GLCEs), Michigan’s education content standards. These Grade Level Content Expectations are a set of learning expectations developed by parents, educators, business leaders, and university professors to assist schools in the development of local district curricula. GLCEs are also engineered to help students achieve success on national and statewide testing.

Third and fifth graders across the state of Michigan must take the Michigan Education Assessment Program (MEAP). Preparation for the MEAP begins the first day of school up until the second week of October when the official testing takes place.  The MEAP is a reflection upon each school district and decides the amount of funding they will receive from the state of Michigan. GRPS also uses the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS). This test is a voluntary, non-profit cooperative program used in grades K through 8. Districts employ the series of tests in primary grades to gain information about classes and students for instructional planning, to supplement teacher observations regarding student abilities, and to establish a basis for subsequent annual evaluation of student progress.

The packed regimen Grand Rapids Public Schools faces is especially difficult to keep up with when such a great language barrier exists within the district; many students speak Spanish as their primary language. It has been suggested that there may be only one English- speaking class per grade at Chavez and Buchanan Elementary. Additionally, during parent teacher conferences, many parents also need the help of a translator.

Federal Free and Reduced-Price Lunch Program

The Federal Free and Reduced-Price Lunch Program reimburses schools for breakfast, lunch, and snacks served to children whose families might not otherwise be able to afford nutritious food. Children from families with incomes at or below 130 percent of the poverty level (currently $27,560 for a family of four) are eligible for free meals. Children from families with incomes at or below 185 percent of the poverty level (currently $39,220 for a family of four) are eligible for discounted meals. Because of the Federal Free and Reduced-Price Lunch Program a healthy breakfast, lunch, and take home snack are provided to eligible students who attend the GRPS district.

The percentage of students eligible for the Federal Free and Reduced-Price Lunch Program are reported by the State Department of Education. This percentage is one indication of the student economic level (or family income level) at a school. By assessing these percentages we are able to determine that the students attending our participating schools are of a low socioeconomic status. These percentages also illustrate that the majority of students are eating school-provided foods for breakfast and lunch during the school week. The percentage of students eligible for free or reduced-price meals at our participating schools are as follows:
•    Buchanan- 99%
•    Campus- 92%
•    Chavez- 95%
•    Dickinson- 94%

Obesity in Grand Rapids
Many students attending our participating schools consume healthy school-provided meals under the Federal Free and Reduced-Price Lunch Program during the school week. However, as the predisposing factors of obesity include a mix of genetic, social, cultural, environmental, and lifestyle factors, participating students are still at risk for weight issues.

A Grand Rapids newsletter recently published an article stating that over the past 30 years, obesity rates have more than quadrupled for elementary age children. Statistics show that a child with two obese parents has an 80 percent risk of becoming overweight, a child with only one obese parent has a 40 percent risk, and a child with normal weight parents has a 7 percent risk of becoming overweight.

Furthermore, overweight and obesity in the U.S. occur at higher rates in ethnic minority populations such as African American and Hispanic Americans, compared with White Americans.

Latinos and their children have been particularly affected by the growing prevalence of overweight and obesity. Latino children, who make up one-fifth of the U.S. child population, have the highest obesity and overweight rates of all ethnic groups. In Latino children, specific risk factors of obesity include physical inactivity and frequent consumption of food with a high fat content, which increased the odds of obesity approximately two-fold. In 2005, at least one in four Latino adults living in the U.S. was obese (having a Body Mass Index of 30 or more).

Obesity is also a common problem in African American communities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 31.1 percent of African Americans were obese in 2001, up from 19.3 percent ten years ago. The obesity rate of African American children is currently 32.8 percent. A specific risk   factor seen in African American children is the frequent use of sweets and sugar-sweetened drinks, which increased the odds of obesity nearly three-fold.

This data suggests that Grand Rapids residents are not properly educated on how to make healthy choices for themselves, or for their families. Many Grand Rapids families may not realize that a healthy lifestyle can fit into their daily routine regardless of cultural preferences or budget.

The FIT Confusion

Grand Rapids’ obesity problem is no secret; the community has pre-existing extracurricular programs intending to lower obesity rates by enforcing healthy nutrition or fitness. Example programs include The Loop, The School Nutrition Foundation, and Eat Smart, Get Moving.

The Loop is a free program for the Grand Rapids Public Schools and offers academic support such as tutoring and homework assistance by certified teachers. The program also has an array of youth enrichment activities including Enrichment-hour with physical recreation, to promote physical fitness. Contracted youth development professionals (YMCA, Camp Fire USA, Parks and Recreation) are hired to deliver site management and enrichment programs. The Loop is a 40-week, year-round program. Programs are offered 34 weeks during the school year, for 2 hours a day, 5 days a week, and 1 Saturday per month.

The School Nutrition Foundation is a 501 organization that focuses on its comprehensive financial aid program, professional development programs, educational materials, and research in school foodservice. These resources equip School Nutrition Association members with the tools to comply with USDA regulations, run efficient school foodservice operations and serve nutritious meals to children. The School Nutrition Association offers a rich array of continuing education programs for SNA members and the entire school nutrition community. The foundation offers multiple publications including and informative website, a nutritional magazine, newsletters, audio casts, and even a bookstore. Their website offers a resource center with information on how to research the industry, how to market and run your program, how to teach children about nutrition and how to prepare their meals, and some ideas for events.

Eat Smart, Get Moving focuses on energy balance between food and physical activity to help one reach and maintain personal wellness. The program is designed to allow teams to work together, tracking physical activity and food choices as “points.” The program is organized into four phases with progressive nutrition and physical activity goals that will lead individuals and teams toward meeting key recommendations in the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans – such as getting enough dairy, fruits and vegetables and whole grains. The team’s points are calculated by averaging the points that each individual team member earns by meeting the specified goals of each of the four phases. The contest is open to all School Nutrition Association (SNA) members, and other adults 18 years or older, at participating schools.

While Grand Rapids has pre-existing programs implementing fitness or nutrition, it does not offer a program that has a solitary purpose of enforcing a healthy lifestyle to the community. Furthermore, due to the highly-cultural identities of the Grand Rapids population, these programs may not seem to fit into the community’s way of life. It is our contention that programs available do not show the people of Grand Rapids how to easily incorporate healthy choices into their daily lives with little compromise.


Due to our findings, we will employ an educational, culturally sensitive campaign that emphasizes the importance of both physical fitness and nutrition to the Grand Rapids community. Our campaign will capitalize on school circumstances, support social bonding, be appropriate for those of a low socioeconomic status, and can be integrated into the community’s daily life with ease.

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MSU Campaigns Project- The FIT Program – Introduction

Advertising Campaigns (ADV 486) is an intense course required for Michigan State University’s Advertising students that assumes knowledge of all the classes we’ve previously taken in the Advertising Department. At the beginning of the semester, classes are assigned a client for which teams are to propose a complete marketing campaign; during the fall semester of 2009 our client was the FIT Program.

The FIT Program is a collective partnership for a fitter future, lead by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Michigan State University to promote healthy and active lifestyles. Participating Grand Rapids Public Schools include Buchanan, Campus, Chavez, and Dickinson Elementary. My team (Rochelle Rietow (me!), Kerrie Angus, and Garrett Ruhland) had fresh, innovative ideas and designed related approaches for marketing FIT in the Grand Rapids community.

During my upcoming posts I will share our complete marketing campaign for the FIT Program that resulted in the highest possible score and client implementation.

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The Access Model

Finally, The ACCESS Model! As I described in my previous post, Lon Safko and David K. Brake’s The Social Media Bible: Tactics, Tools & Strategies for Business Success outlines this model that was crafted for social media development success! Below is their ACCESS Model, along with further questions I have brainstormed for thorough insight on your social media strategy.


An audience consumes content and represents opportunity for an interactive relationship.

Internal Audience – Intercompany
External Audience- Customers, Prospects, and at times, Investors/Stockholders, and Vendors

Whether internal or external, each major audience can be further categorized into smaller audience segments called personas. Seldom does one audience have narrow enough interests for you to reach them with one broad message or approach. By creating four or five personas, you can find common characteristics that allow for a three-dimensional characterization of each persona; you’re trying to put a face on the persona.

1)    Who are our external audiences? (Be specific)
2)    What is the audiences’ demographic data? (Age, education, location, household income, ect—These will be found with a Google search, there are many companies that specialize in market rearch of this sort)
3)    What purchase patterns does the audience have? (In this case– Do they use the service once? Or do they keep coming back?)
4)    What are their general attitudes, values and beliefs towards the service?
5)    What are their attitudes, values and beliefs towards social media?
6)    What are the audiences’ needs and preferences? How can the use of social media help meet their demands?
7)    What professional, social, or service organizations might our target audience belong to? How can we tap into these networks?
8)     Who are the key influencers or promoters relevant to our service category? How can they influence our audience?
9)    Create four or five personas according to our audience.

Every business has a concept that highlights the value propositions for its intended audience.  A value proposition describes the intended benefit that the features or attributes of a product or service will provide the consumer. In using social media, we will be providing content for a community, that content has an underlying concept as well. It is likely that we may propose several operable concepts.

To come up with effective concepts, it is necessary to think about the community you want to engage; take a good look at the target audience personas for a better idea. Think in terms of the needs of your potential community rather than the needs of your business. Yes, the business needs to make and sell stuff to provide goods and services that make money. However, we will likely not be successful rallying people around the business’ need to generate revenue. But—there ARE people who need to know something about the area of expertise or are interested in certain aspects of the business.

1)    What concepts can we use? What topics can we discuss? Write anything that comes to mind!
2)    Create a brief vision statement involving our social media concept that can be shared with anyone in two minutes or less. Here is an example:
•    An online community for people who are interested in organic gardening. The community would feature expert advice on how to grow a wide variety of vegetables. The website for the community would feature photos and videos showing the different aspects of starting and maintaining an organic garden. Community members would be encouraged to upload their own photos, videos, and share their organic gardening experiences. Community members would also be able to rate and comment on different products available to organic gardeners.  The website would also offer a vegetable exchange center where people could barter and trade their organic produce.

It is necessary to understand our competition so we can do things better!

1)    Who are our top competitors? Do they employ social media?
2)    Look at the competition through the eyes or our personas we defined earlier. What do they do well? Where can they improve?
3)    What can we do to surpass our competition?

Great concepts have failed, the reason being: the execution of the concept of the concept failed to live up to the promise of the concept.

There are at least two theories of proper execution. The first theory being to simply get your content on the market and accept the face that it’s not perfect. Once it’s out there, you can refine and iterate on the fly. This works well if you have an audience who can be relied on to collaborate with you—one of the main tenets of social media. However, if you are entering an area where the competition has great media and an engaged audience, the cost of entry may be high enough that you cannot risk entering with sub par content.

The second theory is what we have began with utilizing the ACCESS Model; it is to do your research and analysis, take careful aim, and fire when ready. This strategy may not give “first mover” advantage but will keep us from making mistakes that could derail our efforts.

According to social media, execution is the sample content that gives your potential audience the flavor and feel or the finished offering. This could include video, audio, photos and other applications or content from the social media world. It is not necessary to show everything, but we must offer enough to accomplish two things: demonstrate to your audience that your concept statement can be realized and highlight at least a few of the comparative advantages of your concept over the competition.

1)    How will we execute our concept?
2)    What content will we execute?

Social Media

1)    What are the best social media outlets for our content?
2)    How will we use each outlet?

Sales Viability
As we know, any business will fail without sales and demand.  The rise of social media has made it possible to incorporate other revenue models into business strategies. There are other ways to profit from social media communities. Here are six of these revenue models:
•    Products, services and information
o    The most traditional model, it lends itself to both online and offline environments
•    Advertising and sponsorship
o    Involves selling a variety of advertising opportunities to businesses that want to get closer to your community. This might include site or event sponsorships.
•    Transactions or commissions
o    Revenue generated by taking a commission or a small transaction fee resulting from your site playing a role in a customer-seller transaction.
•    Subscriptions
o    If your content has high enough perceived value, it may be possible to sell subscriptions in the same way that newspapers, magazines, and newsletters have traditionally done.
•    “Freemium”
o    A combination of the words free and premium. This refers to a revenue model that offers something free but also offers upgraded or premium versions for an additional cost.

1)    What business model does the company employ?
2)    How can we use social media to generate increased profit?

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Social Media Planning- The ACCESS Model- Part I

Sure, in this generation it’s widely agreed that social media is an engaging outlet that can present great opportunity for businesses in a variety of industries. However, how do you begin brainstorming a social media plan for your business?!

This is a question I pondered myself, in fear of an unorganized, inconsistent social media plan. That’s when I turned to Lon Safko and David K. Brake’s The Social Media Bible: Tactics, Tools & Strategies for Business Success, a hefty 800-page guide to implementing social media to your business’s benefit.

The Social Media Bible

This social media resource suggests utilizing Content Connection’s ACCESS Model, an acronym whose letters stand for: Audience, Concept, Competition, Execution, Social Media, and Sales Viability.  It is an integrated model for validating your content and for building a dynamic community around that content. Many companies think of it as their secret sauce…

I have taken a good look at this model, and created different questions businesses should consider in each area. Keep tuned as I post this genius social media development strategy 😉

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