Ready to Learn Providence and Child and Family Service Agency Collaborators Receive $75,000 Blue Cross Grant to Support Nutrition and Exercise Programs for Young Children

(3.5.2014)
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PROVIDENCE, RI – Ready to Learn Providence (R2LP), a school-readiness organization working to close the educational achievement gap, has received a $75,000 grant from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) to fund Let’s Get Moving!, an initiative to help child and family service agencies train and support their staff in enhancing nutrition and exercise programming for children under five.

The funding will be used in a collaborative effort among local child and family service agencies, including partners Children’s Friend and the Providence Community Library, as well as 10 center-based child care programs and three Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) organizations. The collaborators will work together to train and support staff in adopting program enhancements for children that increase physical activity and promote healthy food choices. One of these enhancements is the “I am Moving I am Learning” (IM/IL) program, a research-based initiative developed as a Head Start enhancement program to address childhood obesity. R2LP and its partners estimate that the program will positively benefit more than 1,000 local children.

R2LP is an initiative of The Providence Plan (ProvPlan), founded to improve the economic and social well-being of Providence, its residents, and its neighborhoods.  

Funding for the R2LP collaboration is part of the 2014 BlueAngel Community Health Grant Program (BACHG), which supports nonprofit organizations addressing critical health issues in Rhode Island. 

 “One of the unique benefits of Let’s Get Moving! is that it can be implemented in any child care setting,” said Leslie Gell, Director of Ready to Learn Providence. “Our ‘training the trainer’ model, which will help us work closely with area agencies to implement the program, enables us to have a real impact on fighting issues of childhood obesity and improving health outcomes in the community in a lasting way.”

In 2014, BCBSRI celebrates 75 years of providing high quality coverage and peace of mind to thousands of Rhode Island families. In recognition of this milestone anniversary, BCBSRI will award three $75,000 BlueAngel Community Health grants to agency collaboration that provide community education and outreach on the importance of good nutrition, physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight for children and their families. For the first time this year, grants are focused exclusively on programs impacting childhood obesity.

“The collaborative effort of Ready to Learn Providence and its partners is an excellent model that helps underserved children understand and commit to healthy behaviors,” said Michele Lederberg, Chief Administrative Officer of BCBSRI. “We are celebrating our 75 years in the community this year, and our BlueAngel program is one way we can support community-based agencies working to help Rhode Islanders – many of whom are tomorrow’s leaders – live healthier lives.”

The BACHG Program is the cornerstone of BCBSRI’s charitable giving. Since the Program’s inception in 2002, BCBSRI has donated over $2.3 million dollars to support Rhode Island nonprofit organizations helping un- and under-insured Rhode Islanders to live healthier lives. More than 220,000 people in Rhode Island have been touched by funded programs since the BACHG’s launch.

In July 2013, BCBSRI issued a call for Letters of Inquiry from organizations seeking BACHG funding, specifically seeking programs that aim to combat childhood obesity in Rhode Island communities. Out of twenty-one agencies, three collaborations were chosen to receive $75,000 grants. The BACHG program provides one year of funding and an opportunity to reapply in year-two for transitional funding, if successful performance outcomes have been achieved. 

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