DETROIT, April 17, 2018— Michigan K-12 schools are invited to apply for an innovative program that supports children’s health by providing students, teachers and administrators with the necessary tools to create a healthier school environment for the 2018-2019 school year.
Schools now can apply for Building Healthy Communities: Step Up for School Wellness, one of the three programs under the successful Building Healthy Communities program. It is an evidence-based, comprehensive, school-wide initiative that supports children’s health by providing students, teachers and administrators with tools and resources to improve student health while creating a healthier school environment. Applications are due by 5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 30.
“Since 2009, Building Healthy Communities programming has successfully engaged students across the state to make healthier choices inside and outside of the classroom,” said Lynda Rossi, executive vice president, Government, Strategy and Public Affairs for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. “Whether it’s eating more fruits and vegetables or increasing steps throughout the day, we’re proud to see Michigan schools implementing healthy habits that students can continue as adults.”
Building Healthy Communities is supported by multiple statewide organizations, including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Michigan Department of Education, Michigan Fitness Foundation, Michigan State University Extension, Michigan Team Nutrition, United Dairy Industry of Michigan, University of Michigan, Wayne State University Center for Health and Community Impact and Action for Healthy Kids.
Participating schools will be provided with training, equipment, materials and other resources to implement and sustain environmental change, student activities and knowledge and skills-building that encourage healthy eating and physical activity. The program is uniquely customized to meet the needs of each school. Schools can choose from classroom physical activity breaks, active recess, quality physical education, walk-n-run fun, healthy out-of-school time, healthy smoothies, smarter lunchrooms, healthy parties and celebrations and nutrition education.
All public, charter and private nonprofit schools in the state are encouraged to review the full program description and eligibility information. Interested schools can join an informational webinar on the program at 10 a.m. on May 1 or Sept. 12. For more information on the program, to register for the webinar or to submit the online application visit buildinghealthycommunities.arewehealthy.com. The deadline for applying is 5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 30. Selected schools will be announced in October. The program will begin on Oct. 22, 2018.
Building Healthy Communities has since been embraced by more than 600 schools across the state, and has helped over 270,000 students develop better habits and live healthier lives.
“Schools are leading the way in this movement to create healthier learning environments where children will develop healthy eating habits and learn to lead active lives,” said Nick Lyon, director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. “Building Healthy Communities is a collaborative way for state-level organizations to support this movement and prioritize the healthy outcomes for Michigan’s children.”
Building Healthy Communities supports Blue Cross’s ongoing commitment to children’s health and its #MIKidsCan campaign – an initiative focused on encouraging kids to adopt healthy habits early in life that are more likely to be carried into adulthood. Over the last 12 years, Blue Cross has given more than $6.5 million in support of kids’ health and wellness initiatives across the state, reaching more than 230,000 children.
For more information on Blue Cross’s ongoing efforts to help improve childhood health, visit AHealthierMichigan.org/mikidscan or follow #MIKidsCan on Twitter.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit mutual insurance company, is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BCBSM provides and administers health benefits to more than 4.5 million members residing in Michigan in addition to employees of Michigan-headquartered companies who reside outside the state. For more company information, visit bcbsm.com and MiBluesPerspectives.com.