Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island Awards 2016 Community Health Grant to Beat the Streets Providence


Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) is awarding one of six 2016 BlueAngel Community Health Grants (BACHG) to Beat the Streets Providence. The $30,000 grant will launch the inaugural “Blue Cross & Blue Shield Healthy Champions” program, using wrestling as a foundation for teaching healthy habits and providing emotional supports to middle school students in underserved neighborhoods.

Through wrestling, Beat the Streets Providence provides at-risk youth with lessons on the mat, support in the classroom, and strong mentors to guide them towards long term success. The new “Blue Cross & Blue Shield Health Champions” program will offer weeknight and weekend fitness training for 100 young people at the Davey Lopes Recreation Center. The program will also offer nutrition and wellness education, hands-on activities, and field trips to support students in all facets of healthy living.

The occurrence of child and adolescent obesity in America has tripled, and today nearly one in three children between the ages of 2 and 19 years old are obese or overweight. Children and adolescents who are overweight or obese are at an increased risk for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma, sleep apnea, joint pain, along with several other acute and chronic health problems. Aside from obesity’s physical consequences, obese children and youth are susceptible to unique social and psychological problems like stigmatization, bullying, and low self-esteem. Childhood obesity also costs up to $14 billion per year in direct healthcare costs.

For the third year in a row, the BlueAngel Community Health Grant program will focus on this critical issue. This year, six new grants and six transitional grants totaling $286,000 will be awarded to 2016 BACHG recipients.

 “We are honored to support organizations like Beat the Streets Providence that are developing creative and successful models for engaging youth in their own health,” said Carolyn Belisle, Managing Director of Community Relations at BCBSRI. “Child and adolescent obesity can lead to serious, complex, and long-lasting health consequences. Blue Cross is committed to continuing to work together with local organizations to help young people and their families lead healthier and happier lives.”

Since 2013 Beat the Streets Providence has brought educational wrestling programs to 12 schools across the greater providence area. The program has provided male and female students with positive daily coaching and the opportunity to compete across the state on the wrestling mat in order to learn just how much they really are capable of, to work with dedicated mentors and coaches to reach their academic goals, to engage in healthy physical exercise, and with a reason to stay in and succeed in school.

The BACHG program awards local organizations that teach and support healthy habits, from better nutrition to increased physical activity. BCBSRI accepts and reviews proposals for the BACHG program once a year. Each letter of intent received is reviewed to determine compliance with eligibility and funding priorities. Grant award winners were notified in December 2015 with funding beginning in January 2016.

About the BACHG Program
The BACHG program was launched in 2002 and since then has invested more than $3 million into quality programs that have touched the lives of more than 257,000 people in the state. The program is a key component in BCBSRI’s vision of enhancing the quality of life for Rhode Islanders by increasing the quality of and access to healthcare services. The BACHGs are made possible by the BCBSRI Community Health Fund, a corporate donor-advised fund of The Rhode Island Foundation.

About Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island
Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island is the state’s leading health insurer and covers more than 450,000 members. The company is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter @BCBSRI, and like us on Facebook at

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