Organizations Helping Families Stay Healthy to Get Support from Hundreds of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island Volunteer

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) will celebrate the fifth anniversary of its company-wide volunteer day, Blue across Rhode Island, by providing hands-on support to 13 community organizations across the state, including six organizations promoting positive physical and mental health for local children and their families. This year’s Blue across Rhode Island will be held on Friday, September 23, with hundreds of employees committed to participating in the more than dozen projects across the state.
“The strength of Blue across Rhode Island over the past four years comes from the commitment to wellness and spirit of collaboration that define the culture of Blue Cross,” said Carolyn Belisle, Managing Director of Community Relations for BCBSRI. “With each Blue across Rhode Island, we continue our support of local organizations promoting good health—both physical and mental—for children and their families, creating stronger and healthier communities in the process.”
Blue across Rhode Island is BCBSRI’s signature volunteer event and one of the largest single-day, employee-led volunteer events in the state. During last year’s Blue across Rhode Island, 680 employees donated nearly 4,000 volunteer hours to community organizations, impacting 13,734 Rhode Islanders including more than 6,000 children.
BCBSRI employees at every level will participate in the day of service. Projects are designed to create a lasting impact, and activities will include:
· Creating a welcoming therapeutic garden for the individuals and families receiving behavioral health treatment at the Newport County Community Mental Health Center in Middletown.
· Transforming language learning labs and job training classrooms to create a cheery environment for newly immigrated families receiving literacy, education, and employment services through Dorcas International in Providence.
· Trailblazing and constructing boat racks to improve the safety of outdoor athletic areas at the Kent County YMCA Camp Ok-Wa-Nessett in Warwick, an organization playing a vital role in the positive development of local youth and families.
· Restoring hundreds of children’s bicycles donated through Recycle-A-Bike in Providence, to be shared with kids in need.
· Conducting “FitnessGram” assessments for two-hundred middle school students at Highlander Charter School in Warren, a requirement that would otherwise take school staff a full year to complete.
· Beautifying the playground space at Greystone Elementary in North Providence with Playworks, an organization which improves the physical, social and emotional well-being of children through the power of play.
In addition to volunteer support, project sites receive $5,000 grants to support their important work. Since the nationally-recognized program’s inaugural event in 2012, close to 80 percent of employees have provided nearly 15,000 volunteer hours and $180,000 in grant funding to 36 nonprofits dedicated to helping Rhode Islanders live better, healthier lives. Blue across Rhode Island has become a signature event for not only BCBSRI employees, but an invaluable day for the organizations it has supported over the years.
Project site locations by city/town:
Dorcas International
Newport County Community Mental Health Center
Highlander Charter School
Kent County YMCA
North Providence
Greystone Elementary School 
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