Because March is National Nutrition Month in the U.S. and Canada, let’s take a moment to sing Happy Birthday to The Junior Leagues’ Kids in the Kitchen program.

Now in its 6th year, and operational in more than 200 Leagues in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the U.K., Kids in the Kitchen has grown into one of the most-successful, all-volunteer efforts in the fight against childhood obesity.

That fight has picked up momentum since we started the program, with increased support from food companies, consumer advocates and, not least, First Lady Michelle Obama.

But the real reason for the success of the KITK program is you, the League volunteers that make it happen.  Leagues have, from the start, taken the lead in implementing the KITK program.  Leagues have successfully adapted the basic KITK model to fit the needs of their communities.   And Leagues have used KITK as a banner program in their communities, illustrating The League’s commitment to children’s issues.

If childhood obesity is a global problem, certainly in developed countries, Kids in the Kitchen has been an international program from the start.  Started as in 2001 as the Junior Chefs program in Calgary schools by the Junior League of Calgary, the program was adopted by The Junior League and renamed and relaunched in 2006 as Kids in the Kitchen.

What makes Kids in the Kitchen unique is that it avoids a one-size-fits-all approach.  Each one of our KITK programs is as individual as the League that sponsors it and the community in which it operates.  But if there is a single common denominator it is the use of “fun” projects to put information into the hands of kids and parents on ways they can fight against childhood obesity, both in their homes and in their communities.

So Happy Birthday, KITK.  And many more!