Are you looking for a way to help your child's school improve student health and improve academic success? Helping could be as easy as encouraging them to apply for Building Healthy Communities.
The partnership between Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Michigan Fitness Foundation, United Dairy Industry of Michigan, University of Michigan and Wayne State University Center for School Health, encourages children to eat healthy and be physically active.
Since its inception in 2009, the program has reached more than 83,000 students in 187 schools.
Cass Elementary School is a current recipient of the elementary school program, and Bridget Regan, the school's principle is a passionate supporter of the BHC program. "We at Cass Elementary believe in educating the whole child, which means both mind as well as the body. We have noticed through our own research that the kids learn best when their minds are open to learning , and when they are feeling emotionally and physically at their best. This means giving our students the tools they need to eat healthy and be physically active. Through this program, we hope to instill healthy habits that can carry our kids into adulthood." says Regan, who applied for the BHC grant in spring of 2013. The BHC program has a wide-range approach to childhood health, including:
- Educating students through curriculum
- Providing a healthy, supportive environment that makes the healthy choice the easy choice
- Encouraging students to practice lessons learned in the classroom throughout the school day and at home with their families
- Increasing access to physical activity opportunities
- Increasing access to healthy, nutrient-rich food and beverages
This year, schools can apply for the following 2014-2015 programs under the Building Healthy Communities umbrella, that best fit their needs:
- Building Healthy Communities: Engaging elementary schools through partnership: This is an opportunity for elementary schools (K-5) to improve the current and future health of students through sustainable school-based education and environmental initiatives.
- Building Healthy Communities: Engaging middle schools through Project Healthy Schools: This is an opportunity for middle schools (grades 6-8) to reduce childhood obesity and its long-term health risks through sustainable school-based education and environmental initiatives.
- Building Healthy Communities: Breakfast in the classroom: This grant opportunity, available for Michigan elementary, middle and high schools (K-12), will provide students with greater access to healthy food offerings and promote healthy behavior. Grant funds can be used for schools to purchase equipment necessary to increase school breakfast participation and move breakfast to the classroom.
All public, charter and nonprofit private schools in Michigan are encouraged to apply for the program. Building Healthy Communities applications are due by March 14, 2014. Please visit bcbsm.com/buildhealth for full eligibility information, program descriptions and application information. Photo credit: A Healthier Michigan