Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Foundation Awards $200,000 in Healthy Habits for Life Grants
BCBSKS foundation assists schools in promoting healthy lifestyle choices to their K-12 students
TOPEKA, Kansas (Jan. 19, 2023) – Each year, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Foundation shares nearly $200,000 in Healthy Habits for Life grants to assist schools in implementing programs that promote healthy lifestyle choices to their K-12 students. This year, 119 schools were awarded grants. These school-based programs must address at least one of four criteria: reduce cardiovascular risk, increase physical activity, learn healthy eating habits, and reinforce positive mental health among students.
Since its creation in 2006, the Healthy Habits for Life grant program has awarded nearly $2 million through more than 1,900 grants. School personnel have used past grant dollars to educate students on healthy portion sizes, begin a daily walking program for students before or after school, invest in equipment for physical education classes, and much more.
Layne Nash, physical education teacher from Farley Elementary School in Topeka, recently received a Healthy Habits for Life grant. Nash purchased an obstacle course that will better support cardiovascular fitness and plans on hosting a family night so that students can share it with family.
"Being able to apply and receive a grant like the Healthy Habits for Life grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas allows for teachers like myself to open up new opportunities for our students.” said Nash “Not all students have the same opportunities as one another outside of school so I’m excited to implement a new obstacle course style unit that students can explore and utilize.”
“I love incorporating a lot of fitness and movement in majority of my lessons because it improves body control and can also boost balance and flexibility and muscular strength. My students will love to challenge themselves with the purchase of this equipment!”
Chelsea Koenigsman, physical education teacher from Northeast Magnet High School in Wichita, also received a Healthy Habits for Life grant. Koenigsman purchased equipment that will allow students to explore different workouts safely and increase their physical activity.
"We are excited to spend most of the grant money for our weight room. We plan to purchase some lighter weight equipment for our beginner lifters. With this equipment, we plan to have a new unit for our ninth grade PE class to learn the basics of weightlifting." said Koenigsman. "With this equipment, we plan to have a new unit for our 9th grade PE class to learn the basics of weightlifting and hopefully spark some interest."
“With our PE budget being low and equipment being split between three different classes, not much can be purchased each year. Having the opportunity to apply for a grant like Healthy Habits for Life, gives us the opportunity to make larger purchases. This grant money will provide opportunities for our primarily freshman class to learn the basics of weightlifting. This will give students the freedom to have more weight choices that are appropriate for them.
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, community health access and/or education, healthy behaviors, prevention initiatives and direct health services to the uninsured. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Foundation and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas are independent licensees of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. Both entities serve all Kansas counties except Johnson and Wyandotte. For more information on the Foundation, visit bcbsks.com/foundation.