Olympian, Cheryl Pounder, Scores Hat Trick With a 100,000 Ontario Apple
Giveaway, a Motivational Assembly and a Giant Student-Shaped Apple Photo at
Toronto School

Duke of Connaught School Helps Kick-Off Feeding Hungry Students Week

TORONTO, Oct. 5 /CNW/ - Hockey sensation Cheryl Pounder hopes to inspire students by sharing her recipe for Olympic success: determination, perseverance, practice and good health were the key ingredients that helped her achieve her athletic goals.

As a child, being raised in a family of hockey enthusiasts, Pounder realized her passion for hockey, but it was at a school assembly featuring a successful athlete where she was inspired to turn her hobby into a career. She recalls thinking, "that could be me one day" and hopes that she too can inspire students to pursue their dreams regardless of how challenging they may seem.

"Sometimes all it takes is the right advice at the right time to motivate a child to set a goal and begin working towards it," says Pounder. "I want to show kids that anything is possible and that a big part of their success will depend on how healthy they are and how active they choose to be."

As part of Feeding Toronto's Hungry Students Week, a week dedicated to building awareness and raising funds to support over 90,000 students who receive school nutrition programs each day, Pounder will be visiting Duke of Connaught School (70 Woodfield Road) today at 9:30 a.m. to speak with students about how good nutrition and setting goals helped her in her pursuit of Olympic excellence. Following Pounder's presentation, 400 students from grades five to eight will gather on the school grounds where they will come together for a photo opportunity by forming the shape of a giant apple.

As a hockey starlet in training, Pounder was required to pay close attention to her diet from a young age. She wants kids to know that eating like an athlete is possible for anyone and not necessarily as regimented as some might think.

"I discovered early that a hockey career was in the cards for me," says Pounder. "Knowing that, my family and I always made sure I was eating the right foods to maximize my potential and keep me competitive. Although I still indulged in treats at times, I always made room for healthy meals and snacks that would give me the energy to make it through practices and games. Apples are great because they are high in protective antioxidants, which help reduce muscle-fibre damage and promote recovery after a work-out or training session."

To help students eat better this week and beyond, Pounder is teaming up with the Ontario Apple Growers to provide 100,000 apples to elementary and high school students through more than 500 school-based nutrition programs, supported by the Toronto Foundation for Student Success, an arm's length charity of the Toronto District School Board.

"It's hard to eat healthy everyday, especially when inexpensive, processed foods are at our fingertips," says Pounder. "Kids and parents need to make an effort to include healthy options wherever possible. I'm hoping that through this contribution of apples and my presentation, students will realize the importance of maintaining a balanced diet and what good nutrition means to their own personal success."

According to Nanci Guest, registered dietitian, certified personal trainer and director of sport nutrition for the 2010 Winter Olympics, maintaining a balanced, nutrient-rich diet is important for anyone who is required to perform, whether that be in sports, at the office or in school.

"I work with athletes who follow strict diets, but eating right isn't isolated to athletes," says Guest. "Diet has a huge impact on how we look and feel, the strength of our immune system and our muscles, and on our ability to think clearly and have a positive outlook. Proper nutrition for mental function, including mood is often underestimated. Athletes need mental tenacity, just as students and executives do. Our productivity levels at school, work or as a training athlete depend on many lifestyle factors, with a nutrient-rich diet being a very important component to our success."

Guest is a major proponent of apples for her clients due to their spectrum of health benefits and versatility. Apples rank low on the glycemic index because of their high fibre content, meaning that they slowly release sugars into the body, thereby helping to maintain a steady blood sugar level and giving the feeling of satiety. They are also a rich source of phytochemicals which have been linked to a reduced risk of some cancers.

"Apples are a commonly consumed year round fruit so it's easy to forget their amazing health benefits," says Guest. "Not only do apples provide a daily dose of important nutrients, they are so convenient and portable, perfect for keeping in your car, gym bag, school locker or at your desk. And, they require almost no preparation - just wash and eat."

Guest also admits that apples provide her with the ideal sweet tooth cure. "Sliced apples heated in the microwave, sprinkled with oats, cinnamon and a pinch of brown sugar is like eating guilt-free apple pie!"

The Ontario Apple Growers are encouraging all Ontarians to consider who the inspiration in their lives has been for a chance to win a $1,000 grocery gift card to Metro and Loblaw stores. The 'Apple of My Eye' contest will be running from November 6th to December 4th. Anyone can enter by visiting www.onapples.com and entering the name and relationship of the person who inspired them to pursue their dreams.

About Cheryl Pounder

Cheryl Pounder was born in Montreal into a family of hockey enthusiasts: a grandfather, who was GM of the Montreal Junior Canadiens, and her hockey-playing older brothers. The rink in the family's backyard also helped to set her on the path to excel at Canada's national sport. Upon moving to Mississauga, Ontario, she achieved the status of athlete of the year at both her high school and Wilfred Laurier University, where she earned an honours degree in Kinesiology. She has played on Canada's 1994, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2004 and 2005 (All-Star Defenseman) World Championship Hockey teams and was voted the top defenseman at the 2002, 2004, 2007 and MVP at the 2005 Canadian Women's Hockey National Championship. Pounder's greatest career accomplishments are represented by her two Olympic Gold Medals in Salt Lake City and Torino. Considering Pounder's pursuit of both educational and physical excellence, it's no surprise that her impressive sports achievements are complemented by her abilities as a motivational speaker.

About Nanci Guest

Nanci S. Guest MSc, RD, CSCS, is a Registered (Sport) Dietitian, a Certified Personal Trainer, and an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. She holds a Master of Science degree in Human Nutrition from the University of British Columbia (UBC), as well as completing two years of exercise physiology in the School of Human Kinetics also at UBC. She has been a personal trainer for 15 years, servicing youth to older adults, and also provides strength and conditioning coaching to athletes of all levels. Nanci's experience and educational background has allowed her the unique opportunity to specialize in sport performance from both a training and optimal nutrition perspective. This specialization has also allowed Nanci to hold the prestigious position of "Director of Sport Nutrition" for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games to be held in Vancouver/Whistler.

About Ontario Apple Growers

The Ontario Apple Growers represents 260 commercial apple growers. There are about 18,000 acres of apples produced in Ontario. The major apple-producing areas in Ontario are along the shores of Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. For more information visit www.onapples.com.

About Toronto District School Board

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) is the largest in Canada and among the largest school boards in North America. The TDSB serves approximately 1.4 million electors in the City of Toronto with 264,828 students in 565 day schools, another 130,000 learners including adults in Continuing Education programs and approximately 37,000 employees.

About Toronto Foundation for Student Success (TFSS)

The Toronto Foundation for Student Success (TFSS) is a registered, non-profit organization, created to ensure that all students get the most from their educational experience. The TFSS operates independently from the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), while acting as its charitable foundation. The TFSS acts as an advocate for students, identifying and initiating programs to deal with the hunger, poverty and violence experienced by the students. The Foundation works in partnership with the TDSB, major corporations and private individuals.

Interview opportunities:

Cheryl Pounder will be available for interviews before and after her discussion with students at Duke of Connaught School (70 Woodfield Road) on October 5th. The event starts promptly at 9:30 a.m. She will also be available to speak with members of the media on October 6th via telephone or in person.

TDSB Trustee Sheila Cary-Meagher will be available for interviews before and after the assembly to speak about student nutrition programs in schools.

Photos Available:

Visit the CNW Group Photo Archive at 2:00 p.m. today to download photographs taken at Duke of Connaught School. Images will include:

    -  An overhead shot of students forming a giant apple
    -  Cheryl Pounder speaking to a group of 400 students
    -  Ontario apple growers distributing apples to students


For further information: For further information: To book an interview with Cheryl Pounder or Nanci Guest, please contact Sonya Franceschini/Katarina Markovinovic, Faye Clack Communications Inc., (905) 206-0577 ext. 249/ext. 222, Onsite numbers: (647) 668-9293 OR (416) 882-5487, sfranceschini@fayeclack.com, kmarkovinovic@fayeclack.com

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