Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island announces 13 community projects for annual day of service


PROVIDENCE, RI - Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) has announced the 13 community project sites selected for its annual company-wide day of service, Blue across Rhode Island. Now in its sixth year, Blue across Rhode Island provides support to critical community service organizations working to achieve their important social missions. On Friday, September 15, BCBSRI volunteers will join together at sites across the state to tackle projects such as landscaping, painting, building playgrounds and creating care packages for those in need.

Since Blue across Rhode Island’s inception six years ago, BCBSRI employees have performed more than 18,000 hours of volunteer service to 44 nonprofit organizations around the state. In addition to volunteers, BCBSRI also provides each organization with a $5,000 grant to support expenses incurred for the volunteer project, totaling $243,000 in funding over the last five years. Blue across Rhode Island is a core component of BCBSRI’s nationally recognized employee volunteer program.

“Blue across Rhode Island is a tangible reminder of the positive and lasting change we can make by working together and helping others,” said Carolyn Belisle, managing director of Community Relations for BCBSRI. “It’s our privilege to lead the Blue across Rhode Island effort each year and lend a hand to the remarkable organizations creating stronger, healthier communities across the state.”

Blue across Rhode Island remains one of the state’s largest single-company volunteer days, with more than 70 percent of the BCBSRI workforce participating. This year’s project sites all help to create stronger, healthier Rhode Island communities, whether by supporting families’ physical and mental health or specifically assisting local families in times of crisis.

The nonprofit sites selected for Blue across Rhode Island 2017 are:

Crossroads Rhode Island
BCBSRI will refresh the shelter rooms located at the Crossroads Women's Shelter in Providence and help make this a welcoming living space for the many women who consider these rooms their temporary home.

Dare to Dream Ranch
Dare to Dream Ranch is a non-profit organization that offers equine therapy programs for veterans, active service members and their families who might be experiencing post­traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, emotional trauma or mild traumatic brain injury. BCBSRI volunteers will clear brush, paint barns and landscape on the 11-acre ranch.

Family Service of Rhode Island at Mary Fogarty Elementary
BCBSRI will work to make Mary E. Fogarty Elementary School a more welcoming and positive learning environment through improvements to the school's campus and landscape.

Gotta Have Sole
BCBSRI will help assemble and package footwear for homeless Rhode Island children. These shoes will help the children to fully participate in sports, school and social experiences alongside their peers.

Highlander Charter School
BCBSRI volunteers will work together with school staff to host a day full of Project Adventure activities that combine challenging and engaging activities with a focused reflection to build character, promote teamwork and encourage responsibility. The team will help students develop the soft skills needed in both the classroom and life.

Kent County YMCA
The Kent County YMCA is host to the multi-acre outdoor Camp Ok-Wa-Nessett, which needs safety updates and a property refresh for 600 campers who visit the camp each summer. BCBSRI volunteers will install safety fencing, power wash community spaces, and perform upkeep on the pond beach. All upkeep of the existing property helps the camp serve more kids and families for years to come.

March of Dimes
BCBSRI volunteers will assist with activities that benefit families with a pre-term newborn in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (N ICU) at Women & Infants Hospital. Volunteers will help give comfort to these infants and their families by creating parent care kits for parents of babies born pre-term, including sewing blankets and creating Halloween costumes for the babies who will be in the NICU for their first Halloween.

“Playground Crashers” in partnership with Local Initiatives Support Corporation at three sites
Jamestown Early Learning Center, Jamestown
Children’s Friend Head Start, Providence
Westbay Children’s Center, Warwick
In partnership with LISC’s Outdoor Play Interventions Pilot Project (OPIPP), BCBSRI volunteers will support three early learning sites to develop low cost, high value, simple design interventions to increase movement and gross motor skill development. BCBSRI volunteers will "crash" these early learning center sites to transform play environments that will support low-income children's learning, promote active play and exercise, and provide exposure to an array of natural elements. The teams will add natural elements, sensory variety, and open-ended play to outdoor play spaces in order to maximize children's development, health, and well-being.

Playworks at Globe Park Elementary
BCBSRI volunteers will turn bare concrete into a colorful playground with kickball, basketball, football, four-square and hop scotch for the students at Globe Park Elementary in Woonsocket, a Playworks recess program site. This new play space will help make an impact not only in the school, but also in the community at large.

The Confetti Foundation
The Confetti Foundation supplies extra special birthday parties to children who have to spend a birthday in the hospital. BCBSRI volunteers on site at BCBSRI at 500 Exchange Street will construct themed birthday party kits to help more than 150 hospitalized children have a distraction from their illness and celebrate their special days.

The Outreach Program
At least 59,000 Rhode Islanders rely on the services of food pantries and meal sites each month. Volunteer employees will gather in the BCBSRI Cafe to package 25,000 nutritiously fortified meals for Rhode Island families in need of food assistance. All packaged food will be delivered the same day to food pantries and meal sites across Rhode Island through local food rescuer, We Share Hope.

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