Dorchester resident and Boston Arts Academy teacher Sonya Brown was recently honored with a Teacher Champion Award at a ceremony in Boston. Brown earned the award from Project Bread and Blue Cross Blue Shield for her work in getting a 30-minute extension to the school’s breakfast period, thereby ensuring that qualified students could participate in the free breakfast program.
As a result of the extension, school breakfast consumption rose from 28 percent to 41 percent.
Brown teaches students about access to nutritious food as a social justice issue as part of the curriculum for her humanities classes. Her goal is to make sure BAA students, who experience extended school days, remain fed with nutritious food in order to maintain energy levels throughout the day.
Brown was one of eleven Teacher Champions selected through the program. Each one received $1,000 to invest in a school-based nutrition program, as well as a $500 stipend for personal use.
“Teachers play an important role in fighting childhood hunger,” said Erin McAleer, president of Project Bread, the state’s leading anti-hunger organization, in a press release. “They are strong advocates for kids and trusted members of the community. But they need proper support, resources, and partnerships to make a difference for their students without compromising their primary role as educators.”
“Addressing food insecurity in our schools is an important part of helping people live healthier lives—something we are deeply committed to at Blue Cross,” said Jeff Bellows, vice president of Corporate Citizenship and Public Affairs. “We are proud to team up with Project Bread and AFT-Massachusetts to recognize all the incredible work teachers are already doing and help them further set their students up for success inside and out of the classroom.”