Tell us about yourself.
My name is Mary Dunne Stewart and this fall will mark my fourth anniversary as the CEO of Greater Richmond Fit4Kids. I earned my undergraduate degree from William and Mary (Tribe Pride!) and an MSW from VCU. Since grad school, I have spent my career working to improve the lives of kids and families in Virginia.
What is the focus of your work?
This is the first generation of children whose life expectancy is shorter than that of their parents. We are working to change that. Fit4Kids’ mission is to improve children’s wellness through physical activity and healthy eating. We are committed to decreasing the prevalence of childhood obesity in the greater Richmond region.
What do you find most rewarding about your work?
What I love about programmatic work is seeing both the individual impact and the large scale of change. I am fortunate to visit schools and have witnessed firsthand a student trying kale from their school garden for the first time and loving it! At the same time, it’s incredibly rewarding to see the big impact we are making. In our third year of programming, we are already impacting 5,000 children a year in a meaningful way.
Tell us about your biggest accomplishment in this position.
Fit4Kids success is completely dependent upon the quality and dedication of our team. I am most proud of the incredible team of staff we’ve assembled. On a daily basis, they are in the classroom mentoring teachers, outside in the garden encourage kids to try fresh veggies, in the community partnering with other organizations, and working to impact policy. Our success and growth is a direct result of their talent and passion for improving children’s health and wellness.
What’s coming next for your organization that really excites you?
Fit4Kids was recently awarded an Impact 100 award for our collaborative project, Eat Fresh RPS. This is an exciting new initiative to dramatically increase the amount of fruits and vegetables consumed by Richmond students. During the 2015-16 academic year, salad bars will be installed in 20 schools, cafeteria staff will be trained by local chefs on how to better prepare and serve fresh ingredients, and students will be engaged and enticed through taste tests and nutrition education.
What do you like best about the ConnectVA platform?
I LOVE the job finder function! Not only did I find my current job on ConnectVA, but I post every single open Fit4Kids position. We have recruited dynamic, talented team members through ConnectVA. In fact, we’re hiring right now for a Fit4Kids Safe Routes to School Coordinator and the first place we posted is ConnectVA. Check it out – https://www.connectva.org/job/richmond-part-time-fit4kids-safe-routes-to-school-coordinator/!