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The Highmark Foundation Announces $1 Million School Challenge Program

Highmark Healthy High 5 School Challenge grant program is new and improved

PITTSBURGH, Nov. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- The Highmark Foundation announced today that $1 million in grants will be awarded on a rolling basis in 2008 through the Highmark Healthy High 5 School Challenge grant program to public, private, parochial and charter schools in the Foundation's 49-county service area.

The Highmark Healthy High 5 School Challenge is a grant program designed to support schools in the effort to introduce programs that will ultimately create healthier, more successful students.

"Children are our greatest resources, as they represent our future. We have a responsibility to invest in their lives early so that we can make the biggest impact in terms of healthy habits that will continue into adulthood," said Aaron Walton, chairman of the board of the Highmark Foundation.

Grants will be awarded to schools quarterly in January, April, July and October, and will provide funding of programs addressing bullying prevention and self-esteem, in addition to nutrition and physical activity. Applications for grants will be accepted all calendar year.

"Studies and statistics continue to show that the health habits of children develop at a young age and continue into adulthood," said Walton. "Many schools lack the resources needed to develop and implement children's health-based programs, so the Highmark Foundation is proud to provide $1 million in grants to help schools teach students the importance of a healthy lifestyle."

To showcase the success of the School Challenge grant program, the Highmark Foundation announced their new and improved 2008 program at several schools across the state. These schools were 2007 grant winners that are leaders in addressing the physical activity needs of their students:

-- Brentwood Middle School, Brentwood School District (Allegheny County),

was awarded $5,000 to support dietitian consultants, nutrition and

fitness education packets, and exercise equipment for the Spartan Body

Works program.

-- West Creek Hills Elementary School, East Pennsboro School District

(Cumberland County), was awarded $3,000 to purchase "Dance Dance


-- Edward Tracy Elementary School, Easton Area School District

(Northampton County), was awarded $3,000 to support the school's Tracy

Trackers program.

-- Ferndale Area Elementary School, Ferndale Area School District (Cambria

County), was awarded $3,000 to purchase the "Fit-Trail Fitness Center"

that will be built by families along a playground walking trail for

students K-6.

-- Northwestern Senior High School, Northwestern School District (Erie

County), was awarded $7,000 to support a personal physical fitness


Schools are invited to apply for School Challenge grants by visiting the Highmark Healthy High 5 Web site at and clicking on "Grant Process for Schools," to download and complete the grant application.

About Highmark Healthy High 5

Highmark Healthy High 5 is a five-year, $100 million initiative of the Highmark Foundation aimed to reverse the current trends in children's health and to promote lifelong healthy habits in children throughout the 49 counties served by the Highmark Foundation. Highmark Healthy High 5 addresses five critical children's health issues, including nutrition, physical activity, self-esteem, grieving and bullying prevention -- through education, communications, volunteerism, grants and programming.

SOURCE The Highmark Foundation
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