Headin’ down to the Love Snack, baby | AspenTimes.com

Headin’ down to the Love Snack, baby

The B-52s perform Saturday at Love Snack, a benefit concert and dinner for the Aspen-based Children's Health Foundation, at Belly Up Aspen. (Photo courtesy Eika Aoshima)

ASPEN The Children’s Health Foundation, an Aspen-based organization headed by West Buttermilk resident Betsy Fifield, has kept a fairly low public profile since forming in 2005. That low-key existence comes to an end Saturday, when the foundation throws its first splashy event – the Love Snack, a dinner and concert at Belly Up Aspen, featuring ’80s party band the B-52s. Vdara, an organic-oriented Las Vegas condo hotel that will supply the evening’s health-conscious meal, is presenting the fundraiser.Fifield, executive director of the nonprofit, has a good reason for having the organization lie relatively low for two years. “We waited this long because we wanted to do the work first,” she said.

The Children’s Health Foundation aims to improve the well-being of students by working with schools and school districts. Fifield laid out a three-pronged attack toward that end. One facet is to prevent bullying, so kids will feel secure while in class. Another is to lower the stress levels children experience in school. And the third element is to raise the quality of food in schools.Love Snack focuses on the nutrition aspect: “What better moment than Food & Wine weekend, when there’s a real attention on food in Aspen?” said Fifield, a former New York City advertising executive who moved to the valley full time eight years ago. “We want to put attention on where it needs to be, on nutrition in schools.”Fifield, whose 13-year-old daughter attends Aspen Country Day School, says she is impressed with the impact the foundation has had already. The organization’s major work so far is an extensive study, the State of Nutrition and Physical Activity in Colorado Schools, released last year. The Colorado Department of Education has recognized the study, based on information from 20 rural state schools. A result of the study was to give individual recommendations to more than 20 schools, from Aspen to Rifle.

“That directly changed or has begun to change the food in schools,” Fifield said, “by giving them concrete advice about what to do.” She added that the foundation has four other programs in place – including the Safe School Ambassador Program, to prevent bullying, and YogaEd, to reduce stress – in three school districts.Fifield said that schools have welcomed the input.”Most schools talk about creating a holistic school culture, incorporating mind, body and spirit,” she said. “But most schools can’t deliver that because they’re so focused on the bottom line. We’ve found a lot of people agree with us, that kids perform better if those needs are taken care of. Schools really do want to make the changes. Until governments act, nonprofit organizations are stepping up to help out.”

Fifield said it was simply being a parent that prompted her to get involved in children’s health issues.”She’s my personal interest,” Fifield said of her daughter. “I did this selfishly, because raising a family, you see where the opportunities are.”Stewart Oksenhorn’s e-mail address is stewart@aspentimes.com

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