Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island Awards 2016 Community Health Grant to Boys & Girls Club of Pawtucket


Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) is awarding one of six 2016 BlueAngel Community Health Grants (BACHG) to the Boys & Girls Club of Pawtucket.  The $30,000 BlueAngel grant will support the “Out-of-School Time Healthy Lifestyles Program” which teaches healthy habits to approximately 600 youth members each year through after-school and summer activities.

While risk factors that can contribute to childhood obesity are present throughout children’s days, after-school and summer programs where snacks and treats are the norm can be a critical opportunity to instead teach healthy habits. The Healthy Lifestyles Program includes a number of core Boys & Girls Club activities, including Healthy Habits/Let’s Get Cooking; Let’s Get Growing nutrition and gardening lessons; and Triple Play, the Boys & Girls Club of America’s first comprehensive health and wellness program, developed in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The program also offers a daily hot evening meal to every participant, as well as breakfast and lunch during the summer and school vacation weeks. For the first time this year, and supported by this grant award, participating youth will be surveyed on fitness through the Club’s National Fitness Competition to measure results through its National Youth Outcomes Initiative, and BACHG funding will support improved evaluation techniques to refine the programs to be even stronger.

The occurrence of childhood 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.

“Blue Cross is committed to supporting programs that promote health and wellness for Rhode Islanders in every aspect of their lives,” said Carolyn Belisle, Managing Director of Community Relations at BCBSRI. “This robust Boys & Girls Club of Pawtucket program will help youth develop healthy habits that won’t only benefit them individually, but can have a positive ripple effect on their families and friends as they bring these lessons home and into their communities.”

The Boys & Girls Club of Pawtucket has been changing and saving lives since 1900. With an annual membership of more than 4,000 youth from Pawtucket, Central Falls, and beyond, the Club’s mission is to inspire and enable young people, especially those with greatest need, to realize their full potential as healthy, productive, responsible and caring citizens. Members achieve success through focus on three priority areas: academic success, good character & citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. More information can be found by visiting, liking on Facebook ( or following on Twitter @BGCPawt.

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.

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