Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island Awards 2016 Community Health Grant to Recycle-A-Bike

(3.14.2016)
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Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) is awarding one of six 2016 BlueAngel Community Health Grants (BACHG) to Recycle-A-Bike. Recycle-A-Bike received $20,000 to expand their successful “Pedal Power” program, which teaches youth participants about the health benefits of cycling and outfits them with a bike if they cannot afford one of their own.
 
The Pedal Power program is widely recognized for engaging young people in the fun of bicycling while also teaching them the skills to be safe on the road. The BACHG will enable Recycle-A-Bike to offer Pedal Power year-round to youth in Providence through four-week, school-based programs offered as gym class electives or as after-school trainings.
 
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 honored to support programs like Pedal Power, which helps kids have fun while learning a healthy life skill,” said Carolyn Belisle, Managing Director of Community Relations at BCBSRI. “We look forward to continuing to partner with organizations like Recycle-A-Bike that are working to solve the issue of childhood obesity in creative and impactful ways.”
 
Recycle-A-Bike is a non-profit organization that focuses on educating, empowering and building a community by connecting Rhode Islanders and bikes. Recycle-A-Bike’s vision is that, by learning and sharing bike maintenance knowledge, people learn to believe in themselves and their community. Recycle-A-Bike makes the simple technology of these pedal powered machines available to all with the help of the volunteer staff and general skill sharing.
 
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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