Erik Coleman Encourages Students

The Lehman Lions Cheerleaders brought the crowd of sleepy high school students to their feet on Tuesday morning as they welcomed New York Jet Erik Coleman who was there to announce the Jets continued support of the 'Feed Your Mind' outreach campaign. Coleman and representatives from the Department of Education were joined by Congressman Joseph Crowley and New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

The New York Jets and the New York City Department of Education launched the program in 2004 to encourage parents to submit breakfast and lunch family applications and help increase the number of students who take advantage of free, reduced-price meals in New York City's public schools.

"I know when I am hungry, that is all I can think about," said Coleman who is in his third season with the team. "It is important to eat right, to eat often, and to exercise regularly."

The outreach campaign includes a PSA and promotional materials that feature Erik Coleman encouraging students to "Feed Your Mind" by eating healthy and staying fit and a sweepstakes for parents and students who submit the breakfast and lunch family applications. The campaign also aims to educate parents and children about the nutritional reforms taking place in public school cafeterias, where a variety of healthy meals now are included on the menu.

"In order to perform in school, you need to eat properly," said Congressman Crowley. "The better you eat, the better your performance is."

Every year, parents of public school children are asked to complete the free and reduced-price meal application known as the breakfast and lunch family applications. These forms are essential in determining federal reimbursement for the expenses that the City incurs in providing meals in school each day, as well as in determining Title I funding for schools. In 2005, with the Jets support 80.6% of families with children attending public school returned the applications to their schools.

"We are here today to ask for your help," said Speaker Quinn. "Without these forms, we can't get the money we need and millions of dollars will stay in Washington. We want that money right here in the Bronx, so go home and tell your parents to help us by filling out these forms."

All forms processed by November 20th will be automatically eligible for a variety of prizes, including a free trip for two to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl donated by The New York Jets. Only students and parents whose completed breakfast and lunch family applications are processed by November 20th will be eligible for prizes. Breakfast and lunch family applications are available at all public schools and on-line at SchoolFood's Web site, www.opt-osfns.org.

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