Jarvis Christian College’s Enactus Team surpassed 39 competing universities from around the country to win the first-place national title in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s “Students for Health” Project Competition.

The grand prize was recently awarded at the Enactus USA National Expo in Kansas City, Missouri, before an audience of more than 3,000 corporate executives, educators and students. Jarvis students participating include Brian Alexander, Wendon Blair and Carlos Villareal. Ches Talley is Jarvis Enactus Team adviser.

The “Students for Health” Project Competition provided an opportunity for Enactus teams, through a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, to implement initiatives to improve the health and wellness of the communities surrounding their respective universities.

The Jarvis Enactus health initiative targeted the high childhood obesity rate in East Texas by introducing achievable actions that food insecure families can take to make healthier nutritional choices. The team’s innovative project included “Pop-Up Gardens in Burlap Sacks” combined with the USDA’s “Grow It, Try It, Like It!” Nutrition kits.

Jarvis Christian College partnered with the Tyler Head Start Program with 10 sites taking part in the health initiative. Dawn Parnell, with Tyler Head Start, stated, “We were honored to be invited to participate in this program. Teaching the parents and children about nutrition and healthy lifestyles can put children on a trajectory of intellectual development and academic success.”

The award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will enable Jarvis Christian College to further expand the initiative across East Texas.

Quiana J. Lewis, with the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation, stated, “The Foundation is committed to fostering a climate of nutritional health and wellness. Working with Enactus, we are able to engage the brightest minds on university campuses from around the country to help solve the issues facing society. We were extremely impressed by the project that Jarvis Christian College presented and are pleased to support their effort.”

This is the third consecutive year Jarvis Christian College has placed in the National Enactus USA Expo and the first time winning a national title.