Guiding Families on Their Path to Embrace Better Nutritional Choices

By Jessica Kruskamp, Chief Education Officer, NYJTL

“Healthy bodies mean healthy minds,” the group cheered. “Y una mente sana es un corazón sano.”

“Yes, a healthy mind is a healthy heart,” NYJTL Nutrition Coach Sean Butler said.

Our partnership with EmblemHealth continues to impact families by teaching healthy habits, and making cooking a fun family activity at home. We’re engaging nearly 3,500 families citywide, in four languages: English, French, Mandarin and Spanish. More than 60 percent are bilingual, allowing us to engage families in an authentic, impactful way. The recipes and shopping lists reflect and celebrate cultural diversity, and it’s critical these resources are accessible to all.

“A foundation of awareness, activity, and thinking skills will allow students to make valid, informed decisions about their health and lead to future success as productive adults,” NYJTL President and CEO Deborah Antoine said.

The Healthy Living curriculum is present in 28 schools where NYJTL offers year-round activities through its Aces Clubs, most of which are Title 1, meaning 40 percent or more of students come from low-income families as qualified in the U.S. Census.

Sixth grader Ronnie mentions “Healthy Living is great, because I learned about calories, what cortisol is, and how to eat so I’m strong. I want to know what will make me healthy when I grow up.”

The Healthy Living Curriculum includes:

  • Lessons about food groups, exercise, and healthy decision-making.
  • A Family Guide which provides information on how to shop in supermarkets for the whole family and a “Bodega Buddy” backpack clip card, as an easy reference for healthy snacks for kids.
  • Recipes inspired by global cuisines.

NYJTL’s mission is to develop the character of young people through tennis and education for a lifetime of success on and off the court. Through tennis, academic enrichment, healthy living, and character development programs, NYJTL teaches life skills to underserved youth in NYC. Learn more at