Jared Fogle — better known as the "Subway guy" or "Jared from Subway" — is serious about battling childhood obesity.
So serious that he started his own nonprofit — the Jared Foundation — to develop programs that inspire kids to live healthier, happier lives. Today, Fogle announced that his foundation was endorsing CATCH (Coordinated Approach To Child Health) as the official Child Wellness program of the Jared Foundation.
Lucky for the kids of Jefferson School: Their school is one of two (and soon three) in the South Orange-Maplewood School District (the other school is Seth Boyden — and Clinton School is coming on line in two weeks).
CATCH is described as "an evidence-based program that is proven to reduce childhood obesity and has been implemented in over 8,500 schools." Today, CATCH leadership traveled from the headquarters in Texas to join Fogle and his buddy NY Giant Justin Tuck. (Tuck has his own organization — R.U.S.H. for Literacy — but today helped Fogle with his focus on child health.)
Fogle and Tuck immediately energized the children with both their celebrity and their personal charisma (yes, the Subway guy is very charismatic!). The kids were completely amazed to hear from Fogle that he once weighed more than 425 pounds, and they were wowed when he showed them the oversized jeans he wore during his heaviest days.
Tuck dazzled them with his Giant-ness — in more way than one. Tuck was a striking presence and easily the tallest grownup in the building, but he immediately connected with the kids, bending over the podium to make eye contact and gently needling Supervisor of Physical Education, Nursing Svcs. & Health Judy LoBianco for her extraordinary enthusiasm.
The CATCH program educates children about nutrition and a healthy lifestyle and helps them to make decisions about healthy eating in challenging situations. The program includes training and materials, and a strategy that involves everyone from teachers, to cafeteria staff to family members to the broader school community to participate in health-promoting activities such as monthly CATCH tastings.
Thus far, the program in the SOMSD has been paid for through a $1.2 million . LoBianco said that the district is working to secure funding to ensure that the program can grow to more schools throughout the district and continue indefinitely.