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 Layne. “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 Chelsea. “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.”
To learn more and to see when 2023 grant applications go live, keep an eye on our website at bcbsks.com/hhfl.