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Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania Continues Its Support For PA’s Active Schools Initiative

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May 17, 2010

2010-2011 grant program will benefit K-6 students

May 17, 2010, Wilkes-Barre, PA — Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BCNEPA) has announced its continued support for the Active Schools Grant Program, a partnership with the Pennsylvania Departments of Health and Education designed to reduce childhood obesity by increasing school-based physical activity for students. 

The Active Schools Grant Program was launched last summer.  Grants up to $15,000 were made available to middle schools throughout the Commonwealth to help them purchase equipment and introduce structured physical activities for their students.  Schools applied for $5,000 grants through the Department of Health, with local schools eligible for a $10,000 match from BCNEPA.  The program is being offered to elementary schools this year.

“We are continuing our support of the Active Schools Grant Program to address a serious issue in Pennsylvania – childhood obesity,” says Denise S. Cesare, president and CEO of BCNEPA.  “Statistics show that more than 31% of Pennsylvania children in grades K-6 are either overweight or obese.  Given the success of the Active Schools Program in middle schools last year, we want to offer that same opportunity to elementary schools throughout our 13 counties this year.” 

For funding during the 2010-2011 academic year, local K-6 schools are encouraged to apply through the Department of Health until the deadline June 10th.  Schools must use the grant to implement evidence-based physical activity programs that meet the federal guidelines for moderate to vigorous daily activity.  Schools may select programs from a preapproved list, or they can structure their own program as long as students receive the recommended amount of activity daily. 

BCNEPA is one of six organizations statewide that have again agreed to provide a 2:1 match to the Department of Health funds, making each elementary school eligible for up to $15,000.  BCNEPA has committed up to $100,000 to support the program. 

Middle schools selected last year will be able to continue their programs in year two with a modest grant from the Department of Health without having to reapply.  Locally, Hanover Area Junior/Senior High School in Luzerne County, Weatherly Area Elementary/Middle School in Carbon County, Clear Run and Swiftwater Intermediate Schools in Monroe County, and Wayne Highlands Middle School in Wayne County received grants for the 2009-2010 academic year.

For more information on the Active Schools Grant Program, or to download an application, schools throughout northeastern and north central Pennsylvania are encouraged to visit the PA Department of Health website at www.health.state.pa.us.

About Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania
Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association headquartered in Wilkes-Barre.  It offers a comprehensive portfolio of health insurance products and administrative services to approximately 600,000 individuals in 13 counties in northeastern and north central Pennsylvania.  The company’s mission is to provide innovative solutions that support more affordable health care, promote personal accountability for health and wellness, and offer superior service and partnership to employers, members, and providers.

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Anthony Matrisciano
570-200-6310

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