Riley Institute announces winner of Dick and Tunky Riley WhatWorksSC Award

Farm to Belly, a partnership of Greenville Health System, Feed and Seed, and Head Start, has won the 2018 Dick and Tunky Riley WhatWorksSC Award for Excellence.

Farm to Belly, an innovative partnership of Greenville Health System, Feed and Seed, and Head Start, has won the 2018 Dick and Tunky Riley WhatWorksSC Award for Excellence.

The Riley Institute at Furman University and South Carolina Future Minds presented the award to Farm to Belly on Oct. 30 during the WhatWorksSC luncheon in Columbia. Former U.S. Secretary of Education and S.C. Governor Dick Riley presented the award, which is given annually to an education initiative improving the lives of students in South Carolina.

Farm to Belly aims to prevent childhood obesity, especially in low-income families, by increasing physical activity and healthy eating behaviors in students. The initiative supplies children with fresh fruits and vegetables and recipe kits to encourage family food preparation at home, sets up a “market” to let children and their families explore and “purchase” a variety of fruits and vegetables, and implements music and movement in the classroom. Children participating in the initiative also plant and manage a vegetable garden.

As the top award recipient, Farm to Belly received $5,000. In addition, $1,000 was awarded to each of the two finalists: Charleston County School District Summer Teacher Residency, a program designed to recruit and retain highly effective teachers, and South Carolina’s Coalition for Mathematics and Science, a Clemson University-based initiative that serves the whole STEM ecosystem statewide through a variety of programs.

“South Carolina sets the example in so many good ways — we just need to do a better job of talking about it. We honor and celebrate these three programs today for improving the lives of children across our state,” said Riley.

A panel of judges not affiliated with the Riley Institute selected the three finalists from the more than 100 entries in the Riley Institute’s WhatWorksSC clearinghouse, an online tool that showcases initiatives that explore and exemplify key strategies for improving South Carolina’s public schools.

The Dick and Tunky Riley WhatWorksSC Award is named for Secretary Riley and his late wife, Ann “Tunky” Riley, a devoted teacher and passionate advocate for quality public education for all children.

More information about the three programs and the award is online at Furman.edu/WWSC. Additional information is also available by calling the Riley Institute at 864-294-3546 or emailing summer.ramseydickson@furman.edu.