July 17, 2012
School personnel – including nurses, teachers and administrators – interested in helping their students adopt healthy habits have until Oct. 15 to apply for a Healthy Habits for Life grant from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Foundation.
Entering its seventh giving cycle, Healthy Habits for Life is a major grant program of the BCBSKS Foundation. For a second straight year, the Foundation is committing $150,000 to help schools deliver programs that encourage Kansas children to reduce their cardiovascular risk, increase their physical activity or learn healthy eating habits.
“The Foundation’s board of directors recognizes that our schools are at the forefront of helping turn the tide of childhood obesity and associated chronic health conditions because our children spend so much time at school,” said Marlou Wegener, chief operating officer for the BCBSKS Foundation. “We also understand that school budgets are tighter than ever and administrators are making tough decisions regarding how to allocate limited dollars. Since its inception, the Healthy Habits for Life grant program has helped to ease some of that burden by providing funds for health-related curriculum, equipment or activities.”
During the past six years, the BCBSKS Foundation has awarded 441 grants in excess of $425,000, including $150,000 distributed in December 2011. Wegener said school personnel have used those dollars to purchase nutritional and wellness curriculum, healthy snacks, pedometers for walking programs and heart rate monitors for physical education classes.
Other schools have used funds for health fairs, playground equipment or to purchase Nintendo Wii game systems to keep children active when inclement weather keeps them inside for recess.
Wegener encourages school nurses, physical education, health, and family and consumer science teachers, athletics directors, principals and other school personnel to apply for a Healthy Habits for Life grant.
The maximum grant amount is $1,000 and grants are limited to one per school. Healthy Habits for Life grants are available in the service area of the BCBSKS Foundation which includes all Kansas counties except Johnson and Wyandotte.
Applications must be postmarked or received no later than Oct. 15 with the funds distributed in mid-December. Grant recipients can use the funds for programs offered during the 2013 calendar year.
About the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Foundation
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Foundation promotes the good health of Kansans who live in the Foundation’s 103-county service area. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, the largest health insurer in the state, incorporated the Foundation in 2005 as a way to further deepen its commitment to helping all Kansans lead healthier lives, an effort which both entities believe is an essential factor in keeping health care affordable. Through its giving, the Foundation focuses on key health issues that can impact the lives of many Kansans. It funds programs and activities that are, at their core, health-related and in particular, promote health improvement, health care access, health education, healthy behaviors and prevention initiatives. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Foundation and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Both entities serve all Kansas counties except Johnson and Wyandotte. For more information on the Foundation, visit www.bcbsks.com/foundation.
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