Apollo Middle School in Tucson, AZ, is one of 5 middle schools in the Sunnyside Unified School District. A public school that serves more than 600 students in grades 7 and 8, it is located on Tucson’s south side, a primarily low-income neighborhood whose residents regularly experience poor health, particularly chronic diseases.
Apollo Middle School understands the connection between students’ success and the health and well-being of their families and neighborhoods. As a Community School, it offers extended hours and services including a new fitness center open in the evenings for use by neighborhood children and families. Through partnerships and grants, it has also built a fully equipped demonstration kitchen used to teach healthy cooking during school as well as out-of-school-time classes and camps.
In 2014, Apollo Middle School partnered with Canyon Ranch Institute and the non-profit Grow 2B Fit Foundation to pilot the CRI Healthy Community program, which helps families learn how to cook and eat healthier food, manage their stress, and enjoy more healthy family activities together. The full program, for children ages 10 to 14 and their parents or caregivers, began in the fall of 2015.
Apollo Middle School is also home to a CRI Healthy Garden, where students, staff, and community volunteers plant, harvest, and enjoy vegetables and herbs. This garden is one of only 22 school gardens in the state certified by the Arizona Department of Health Services. This certification allows its produce to be used on-site in Apollo’s school cafeteria and in the Apollo Healthy Kitchen, where students learn to cook.
How We’re Making a Difference
The CRI Healthy Community program and CRI Healthy Garden at Apollo Middle School are working in tandem to help kids and families forge a deeper and more lasting relationship with healthy living.