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School's Out Café Provides Free Daily Meals to Thousands of St. Louis Children
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, June 26, 2016 - Hunger lives closer than you think. During the school year, thousands of City of St. Louis children are provided breakfast and lunch at school. But over the summer months, many of these students do not have reliable access to a nutritious breakfast or lunch.

To help meet their needs, the City's Department of Human Services is again sponsoring "Schools Out Café, a summer meal program funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The City has recruited and trained volunteers and is sponsoring 65 volunteer sites that serve meals Monday through Friday until August 12, 2016. The City has no limit on the number of breakfast and lunches the program can provide to children and youth this summer.

"No child should ever go hungry," Mayor Francis Slay said. "Providing meals over the summer to children in need helps families fill the financial gap when school lunches end. So that we can serve as many children in as many neighborhoods as possible, we are still asking for even more volunteer sites to participate."

Anyone 18 years of age or younger can eat at School's Out Café. In addition, people who have been determined eligible by a state or local educational agency to have a mental or physical disability are also eligible.

Examples of sites serving meals this summer are:

Cherokee Recreation Center on Jefferson
Marquette Recreation Center on Minnesota
In Benton Park on Jefferson
Monsanto YMCA on Page
Emerson Family YMCA on Pershall Road

Families can find the nearest School"s Out Café's site by calling 314-657-1654. Organizations looking to open a site should contact Melinda Coburn at 314-657-1693 or 314-657-1654. There are no limits to the number of sites the City can sponsor. It is not too late for additional sites to join the effort to feed children in all neighborhoods.

The United Way has agreed to help inform the community about all the meal site locations this summer. Anyone needing information should call the United Way Call Center by dialing 2-1-1 or (800) 427-4626.

To learn more about the City' ds program or to obtain information about opening a site in your area, contact the Department of Human Services - Youth Nutrition Office at 314-657-1654 or visit

Personal Finance Learning Standards to Be Updated
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, June 14, 2016 - The Missouri State Board of Education has approved the creation of a work group to review the state's personal finance learning standards. This will be the first review of the standards since 2006, when the State Board revised graduation requirements for Missouri students to include one-half credit of personal finance.

"Our young people must have access to a dynamic, relevant curriculum in K-12 education in order to navigate real world challenges later in life," Missouri Treasurer Clint Zweifel said. "I appreciate the work of the Board to make some much needed updates to the personal finance curriculum in Missouri and look forward to assisting the effort however I can."

Missouri is just one of 14 states that require a specific course on personal finance in high school. The current standards help students understand sources of income; create a financial plan for themselves; understand credit and saving and investing. However, the financial world has changed drastically in the last 10 years and Missouri students need to be adequately prepared.

"Financial literacy is critical to the success of our students as they make plans for postsecondary education and the work force," said Missouri Commissioner of Education Dr. Margie Vandeven. "This work is an important part of ensuring all Missouri students graduate prepared for life."

St. Louis Children's Hospital Patients Reunite With Their Pets at New Purina Family Pet Center
The Purina Family Pet Center "ribbon tugging" ceremony was led by Golden Retriever-Labrador mix named "Happy Jack." Photo courtesy Purina
St. Louis Children's Hospital Patients Reunite With Their Pets at New Purina Family Pet Center
ST. LOUIS, MO, (PR Newswire), May 22, 2016 - Madison Taliaferro spent weeks in the hospital in 2012. After a decade of suffering from cystic fibrosis, she underwent a double lung transplant. She powered through the difficult surgery and the recovery that followed long days of physical therapy and rehabilitation. Her parents were there. Her best friend visited from Kansas. Grandparents rotated shifts so she was never alone. But one request still lingered.

"I just wanted to see my dogs," she remembers.

Having suffered from the effects of chronic illness for the decade prior, Madison was no stranger to long days at home, isolated from the school germs that could turn her illness into a critical condition with a single sneeze. When her friends couldn't visit, her dogs were there. But at the hospital, they weren't.

"Our doctors see every day the importance of medicine and world class technology," says Jill Malan, manager of Child Life Services at St. Louis Children's Hospital. "We see every day the impact a child's emotional wellbeing has on their overall recovery."

With several examples to site, Malan proposed the idea of a room at the hospital which could facilitate visits between patients and their cats and dogs. Studies have shown that spending time with pets can reduce pain, anxiety, depression and fatigue in people with a wide range of health issues, and those staying in long-term care facilities.

"As soon as she suggested it, I knew we had to make it happen," says Larry Vancil, director of facility services at Children's.

Vancil approached the St. Louis Children's Hospital Foundation; the Foundation contacted Purina, and Purina didn't hesitate. They enthusiastically agreed to support the construction and staffing of the center with a gift of $450,000. The Purina Family Pet Center at St. Louis Children's Hospital officially opened Wednesday with a ribbon tugging, led by a Golden Retriever-Labrador mix named "Happy Jack."

"At Purina we believe that pets and people are better together, and our friends at St. Louis Children's Hospital clearly share our belief," said Nina Leigh Krueger, Purina president. "Our goal for the Purina Family Pet Center is to bring joy and comfort to children and their families by helping them reunite with their pets during their stay."

The Purina Family Pet Center at St. Louis Children's Hospital gives patients the opportunity to see their pets without leaving the building, their doctors or the technology on which so many of them rely.

It is the first center of its kind in the region, and the fourth in the world.

The 300-square-foot room, adjacent to the hospital's second-floor entrance, features washable surfaces and windows to provide natural light. It can accommodate a child in a wheelchair or hospital bed, and provides a comfortable, private visiting space for the child, pet and family. It will also include toys for the pets and Purina treats the patients can feed their pets.

Purina has participated in the planning and design of the new pet-friendly center at St. Louis Children's Hospital. With expertise in animal behavior, the company shared information and provided advice to make the visit of the dogs and cats with their families as pleasant, safe and fun as possible. Purina behaviorists provided insights on the type of construction materials, access flow for the pets, furniture, paint colors and photos that will make the space warm and welcoming for the families and pets.

"We are so grateful to have received this gift," says Flip Becker, senior director with the St. Louis Children's Hospital Foundation. "I know what a difference this will make in the lives of our patients - a difference only made possible through the generous support of Purina." Madison's mother, Desiree Taliaferro, echoes that sentiment. Though three years removed from transplant, her family still remembers those days and weeks clearly. "It would have meant the world to Madison to see her dogs," Taliaferro says. "It will mean the world to the next family."

Interactive Dude
HealthWorks! Kids' Museum St. Louis is anchored by a 55-foot long, 25-foot wide, 8-foot tall human skeletal structure, "Interactive Dude", designed and fabricated by Cre8play, that serves as the first universally accessible indoor playground. Photo courtesy photographer Karl Lund
HealthWorks! Kids Museum St. Louis to Open Saturday
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, May 13, 2016 - The Delta Dental Health Theatre, which was a popular fixture on Laclede's Landing for the last 38 years, is now housed in HealthWorks! Kids' Museum St. Louis.

HealthWorks! Kids' Museum St. Louis will open to the public on Saturday, May 14 at 10 a.m. HealthWorks! Kids' Museum St. Louis is located at 1100 Macklind Ave, near the Saint Louis Science Center. Admission is $7 per person and free for those 2 years-old and younger. Parking is free.

The $2.5 million facility boasts 12,000 square feet of hands-on, interactive exhibit and programming space that is accessible to those of all abilities.

"It is time to infectiously contaminate children of all ages to learn, have fun and make great life choices," commented Shannon Woodcock, president and CEO of HealthWorks! Kids' Museum St. Louis. "We will be working on the rapid spread of healthy life habits, and couldn't be more excited to open our doors and begin infecting the countless individuals we expect to welcome to our facility in the years to come. Let's let this epidemic begin!"

HealthWorks! Kids' Museum St. Louis is anchored by a 55-foot long, 25-foot wide, 8-foot tall human skeletal structure that serves as the first universally accessible indoor playground. This "Interactive Dude" features a leg slide; a bone balance beam; an electronic, memory-style healthy eating game that is attached to the digestive track; an all-bout poop panel that passes gas; the ability to go inside a skull and learn about the different parts of the brain and their functions; and more.

Visiting children can also take a virtual 10-minute, 4D tour through the mouth, following an apple's trip through the digestive system in The Mouth Theatre, which includes a bubble experience. The Face Your Future exhibit gives children a glimpse into the future using age progression software that showcases what each child could look like based on life choices tied to tobacco usage, sun health and food consumption.

There is also a mock medical office, dentist office, pharmacy and Farmer's Market with tools, technology and dress-up stations to help kids transform themselves into mini-healthcare professionals or play the patient or customer. There is also an All About Me data collection station; a fully-functioning kitchen for cooking demonstrations and educational series, and an immersive play space using BeamTM (previously EyePlay) technology to host interactive floor games.

Teens Earn Scholarships to Start Small Businesses
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, April 24, 2016 - Missouri high school seniors were among the 100 winners of a Young Entrepreneur Foundation Scholarship award from the National Federation of Independent Business, America's leading small-business association since 1943.

NFIB's Young Entrepreneur Awards are designed to reward and encourage entrepreneurial talents among high school students. "We are impressed year after year with the quality of these hard-working, innovative high school students who are making their entrepreneurial dreams happen," said Molly Young, Director of the Young Entrepreneur Foundation.

"These young entrepreneurs are the future of small business," said Brad Jones, state director of NFIB/Missouri.

Ninety-five of the graduating high school seniors will receive $2,000 toward their college and university costs. Five students are in the running for the top Young Entrepreneur of the Year scholarship of $25,000 and the $15,000 Dan Danner Scholarship. The remaining three finalists will receive a $10,000 Young Entrepreneur Award. A special ceremony announcing the five will be held in Washington, D.C. on June 23.

The Missouri winners are:

  • Benjamin Snyder of Huntsville, who attends Westran High School, received an NFIB/Runser/Benish Leadership Council Young Entrepreneur Award. His enterprise is Jacob's Ladder Cemetery Restoration Specialists.
  • Wesley Abeln of Manchester, who attends South High School, received an NFIB/Savings4members Young Entrepreneur Award. Wesley's business is Kiwi Outfitters.
  • Adam Magee of St. Louis, who attends St. Mary's College Prep, received an NFIB/Savings4members Young Entrepreneur Award. He owns Magee Lawn Services LLC.
  • Nora Brooks of St. Louis, who attends Ursuline Academy, received an NFIB/Savings4members Young Entrepreneur Award. She is the founder of NB3 Personalized Gifts.
To qualify for an NFIB Young Entrepreneur Award, students must be seniors in high school who own and/or operate their own small business. They are required to write an essay describing their entrepreneurial endeavors and future goals. NFIB members around the country interview the applicants for the Young Entrepreneur Awards.

World Wide Technology Awards $10K to Winner of STEM Student Forum Hackathon
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, April 17, 2016 - World Wide Technology, Inc. (WWT) announced that Metro High School was awarded the top prize of $10,000 at its Spring STEM Student Forum Hackathon, held Saturday, April 9th at the company's St. Louis headquarters.

"WWT is proud to host this exciting annual event and extremely pleased to recognize Metro's winning team with a $10,000 scholarship award to support their school's STEM programs and initiatives," said Joe Koenig, president at WWT. "We were incredibly impressed by all of the student contributions and look forward to continuing to promote student interest and success in STEM-related fields."

Approximately 40 students representing five St. Louis-area schools participated in the hackathon: Cardinal Ritter, De Smet Jesuit, Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School, Metro and Parkway School District.

In January of this year, student teams were tasked with designing their own innovative solution to a unique communal school challenge that could be addressed using STEM disciplines. WWT provided each team with professional mentors who volunteered 1-2 hours per month to help the students refine their ideas and connect them with WWT resources to complete their projects.

At the event, the high school teams presented their final projects. Each student was expected to present a section of their project overview to ensure participation from all students. Teams were judged on how well they articulated their solution or product, the overall creativity of their project, and core values; how well the team displayed humility, teamwork, collaboration and attitude.

Metro's winning project, Metro Solutions or MetSol, solves the issue of inefficient attendance reporting and abuse of off-campus privileges as well as in-class breaks with programmable Near Field Communication (NFC) cards and scanners, unique student ID numbers and a Visual Basic application that reads information from a programmable database and displays data in a variety of forms and elements. The team created a log-in form, an Add-a-Student option, a calendar to preview past attendance logs, time-stamps after student ID card swipes and more to flesh out their solution.

Recognizing that district funding is largely dependent upon state assessment scores and academic achievement, the team researched the correlation between attendance rates and high student achievement and designed their solution with the belief that higher attendance rates, motivated by an attendance system of accountability, would improve assessment scores, graduation rates and school funding. The Metro team emphasized that their solution could be used in any underachieving or underfunded school district to strengthen attendance rates, improve reporting accuracy and improving funding and accreditation efforts.

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