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Schools Receive Grants to Help Kids be Active, Eat Healthy
Date:2/13/2009

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan supports physical activity and nutrition programs for students and their parents

DETROIT, Feb. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 16,600 Michigan children and their local communities will get an opportunity to participate in walking, climbing and other physical activities and to learn to eat healthily, through a partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

They'll join youngsters like those at Detroit's Maybury Elementary School who now have more options to stay fit.

"The rock climbing wall installed last year gives students in all grade levels the opportunity to succeed at challenges, develop balance, upper body strength and problem solving as they travel along the wall," said Linda Almeranti, a physical education teacher at Maybury Elementary, a recipient of a BCBSM grant.

Thirty-six schools throughout Michigan will share in a $333,400 grant with awards ranging from $1,000 to $15,000. Physical activity and nutrition programs vary from installing new playground equipment to hands-on organic gardening programs. Grant applications were offered to schools statewide based on certain criteria such as student participation rates in free and reduced lunch programs along with a population historically at risk for obesity.

"Even though our students have 20 minutes of recess time each day and are encouraged to engage in physical activity, they seldom do because our playground equipment is outdated and there's simply not enough equipment for all students to use. With the funds secured from this Blue Cross grant, and a matching funds grant from GameTime Playground, we're going to purchase new equipment and structures that will increase students' physical activity," said Scott Hutchins, principal, Bennett Elementary School in Jackson.

Since 2004, the Blues have provided nearly $1 million in funding to address childhood obesity among more than 113,000 school children throughout the state as part of our Building Healthy Communities grants.

"Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has a mission that is unique among health insurance companies, and these grants are examples of how we help create stronger, healthier Michigan communities through partnerships with schools and others," said Lynda Rossi, Blues vice president of Public Policy and Social Mission. "The grants promote physical fitness and nutrition to help children prevent serious health conditions down the road."

As part of its unique social mission, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is committed to focusing on reducing health care costs and improving quality, increasing access to health care coverage and services, and improving the health status of Michigan's residents, particularly children.

The schools receiving grants are:

  • Adrian - Michener Elementary School. Construct an outdoor fitness course for use by the school and local community. Grant amount: $15,000.
  • Battle Creek - Doris Klaussen Developmental Center. Purchase fitness books and software designed for special needs students; supply pedometers for walking program; offer healthy food choices. Grant amount: $12,620.
  • Detroit - Carstens Elementary School. Continue the Stop Everything and Start Exercising Now -SEASEN- program. Grant amount: $13,110.
  • Detroit - Clara W. Rutherford Academy. Continue the "5-2-0-1" program emphasizing fun physical activities and healthy lifestyles. Grant amount: $12,202.
  • Detroit - Detroit Edison Public School Academy. Introduce a swimming program through collaboration with the Boll YMCA. Grant amount: $15,000.
  • Detroit - Fleming Academy. Provide nutritional counseling, stage a health screening fair, issue pedometers for a stepping challenge and sponsor a field day. Grant amount: $15,000.
  • Detroit - Greenfield Union Elementary and Middle School. Establish a healthy food co-op and erect a hoop house greenhouse. Grant amount: $15,000.
  • Detroit - Isaac Crary Elementary School. Implement nutrition programs and involve families to participate in physical activity through new and enhanced playground equipment. Grant amount: $15,000.
  • Detroit - Katherine B. White Elementary School. Add a dance program and complete the Healthy School Action Tool. Grant amount: $2,000.
  • Detroit - Mark Twain School and Academy. Renovate a barren playground to include a track, basketball and tennis courts; add a climbing wall to the indoor gym. Grant amount: $15,000.
  • Detroit - Maybury Elementary School. Purchase sports equipment, support physical activities during the day, and offer a healthy eating and cooking class to parents and students. Grant amount: $13,400.
  • Detroit - Parker Elementary and Middle School. Develop an outdoor fitness track and supply pedometers to students; dietitians will provide programs on healthy eating habits. Grant amount: $11,000.
  • Grand Rapids - C.A. Frost Environmental Science Academy. Install interactive playground and fitness equipment made from recycled plastic. Grant amount: $14,290.
  • Grand Rapids - Central High School. Teach students how to shop for and create healthy meals; offer more physical activity programs and implement the Grand Rapids YMCA Healthy U program. Grant amount: $14,325.
  • Grand Rapids - Creston High School. Open the gym facilities before and after school to students and the community. Increase academic opportunities which encourage health promotion and disease prevention. Grant amount: $15,000.
  • Grand Rapids - Kent Education Center High School. Complete a YMCA fitness assessment and supply pedometers to start walking. Grant amount: $1,790.
  • Grand Rapids - Sherwood Park Global Studies Academy. Implement a smart eating program, add a salad bar for middle school lunch program, provide healthy snacks and purchase pedometers for a walking club. Grant amount: $2,200.
  • Ionia - Douglas A. Welch Community Center. Provide pedometers and heart monitor for a fitness program, add a climbing wall, soccer goal and indoor equipment. Grant amount: $7,620.
  • Jackson - Bennett Elementary School. Install new playground equipment. Grant amount: $15,000.
  • Lansing - Mid-Michigan Leadership Academy. Update playground and gym equipment and promote nutritious eating habits. Grant amount: $10,000.
  • Mt. Clemens - M. L. King, Jr. Academy. Construct a fitness trail with activity stations available to the local area. Grant amount: $15,000.
  • Saginaw - Francis Reh Academy. Students will create a healthy community awareness campaign focusing on how nutrition affects chronic diseases and how to engage in fun physical activities to improve health. Grant amount: $15,000.
  • Taylor - Blair Moody Elementary School. Construct a playground play pad and a hoop house for hands-on organic gardening and farming. Grant amount: $15,000.
  • Traverse City - Traverse Heights Elementary School. Improve fitness equipment, conduct after school physical fitness activities, implement healthy food options by cooking from scratch in the kitchen, and provide healthy snacks to students. Grant amount: $15,000.
  • Waterford - Sandburg Elementary School. Increase fruit and vegetable consumption through a weekly free, fresh fruit program, cooking demonstrations and nutrition education for students and their parents. Grant amount: $13,840.
  • Whittemore - Whittemore Prescott High School. Add a healthy food station in the cafeteria. Grant amount: $15,000.

BCBSM is also helping schools develop Healthy School Action Tools which are designed to help Michigan schools create healthier environments. The HSAT process offers schools a method to assess their environment and focus on one or more specific topics.

These schools are receiving $1,000 to complete their HSAT assessment:

  • Detroit - O.W. Holmes Elementary School
  • Grand Rapids - Aberdeen Elementary School
  • Grand Rapids - Alger Middle School
  • Grand Rapids - Ottawa Hills High School
  • Ionia - Emerson Elementary School
  • Jackson - Cascade Elementary School
  • Jackson - Frost Elementary School
  • Jackson - Hunt Elementary School
  • Jackson - Northeast Elementary School
  • Taylor - Myers Elementary School

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit organization, provides and administers health benefits to 4.7 million members residing in Michigan in addition to members of Michigan-headquartered groups who reside outside the state. The company offers a broad variety of plans including: Traditional Blue Cross Blue Shield; Blue Preferred, Community Blue and Healthy Blue Incentives PPOs; Blue Care Network HMO; BCN Healthy Blue Living; Flexible Blue plans compatible with health savings accounts; Medicare Advantage; Part D Prescription Drug plans, and MyBlue products in the under-age-65 individual market. BCBSM also offers dental, vision and hearing plans. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network are nonprofit corporations and independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more company information, visit bcbsm.com.


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SOURCE Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
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