Thousands of children attending schools in 66 Kansas counties will have access to at-school programs during 2014 aimed at improving their health and fostering positive habits. The programs will be funded through 160 Healthy Habits for Life grants totaling $149,650.16 that were recently distributed to school nurses, teachers and administrators by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Foundation.
The grant dollars will be used in 2014 to purchase nutrition curriculum, exercise equipment or healthy snacks, or to organize walking programs, health fairs and other activities; programs designed to help children reduce their cardiovascular risk, increase their physical activity or learn healthy eating habits. Completing its eighth giving cycle, the BCBSKS Foundation has now distributed 760 Healthy Habits for Life grants in excess of $670,000.
“Each year during the Healthy Habits for Life application process, I am reminded of the extremely strong commitment our school professionals have to stemming the tide of childhood obesity in Kansas through school-based programs,” said Marlou Wegener, chief operating officer of the BCBSKS Foundation. “Throughout our state, school nurses, physical education, health and consumer science teachers, principals and parent organizations are creating simple – yet impactful – programs that will assist their students in forming those healthy habits that will serve them well for the rest of their lives.
“The Foundation is proud to support the commitment of our school personnel by providing them much-needed financial assistance to reach children where they spend the majority of their day – at school,” she said.
The amount of each grant was based on the applicant’s request for the program he or she proposed, up to a maximum of $1,000. The school district or private school must be located in the service area of the BCBSKS Foundation (all Kansas counties except Johnson and Wyandotte).
Barton County: 428 Tricia Reiser, principal, and Eisenhower Elementary School, $995.13, Millie Hill, school nurse
Rice County: 376 Kristi Wilson, school nurse Sterling Grade School, $1,000; 401 Jason Briar, assistant principal Chase High School/Raymond Junior High, $499; 444 Terry Renken, PE teacher Little River Jr./Sr. High School, $1,000
Rush County: 395 Clinton Schmitt, teacher LaCrosse High School, $1,000
Stafford County: 349 Chelsea Keck, school nurse Stafford Schools, $1,000; 350 Lisa Cornwell, school nurse St. John Elementary School, $1,000