Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama officials presented Troy University and Troy Elementary School officials with a $10,000 Be Healthy Schools grant today during a ceremony at the school.
The grant, secured by Drs. Candice Howard-Shaughnessy and Brandon Sluder of the University’s Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion along with Teresa Sims and Forrest Lee of Troy Elementary, will be used to build a walking/running lane featuring outdoor fitness stations at the school. The lane and stations will encourage outdoor activities for fitness, create a physically active environment and increase physical fitness scores for students.
“Since 2012, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama has partnered with over 114 schools in the state to help prevent childhood obesity,” Jeff Adams, community relations manager. “Today, we are here at Troy Elementary to present them with a check in the amount of $10,000 to help them in their efforts.”
Dr. Howard-Shaughnessy said the installation of a walking/running lane and 10 fitness stations would provide greater opportunities for physical education teachers to engage students in outdoor activities.
“There is a lot of vacant area beside the school in the playground area that is not being utilized right now,” she said. “We decided that outdoor fitness equipment would be ideal to make use of the area and engage more students in physical education. Our physical education classes at Troy Elementary are large. We determined that this would provide opportunities for students to be involved in activities on the large playground area while also taking advantage of the 10 fitness stations. We would also like to install a walking/running lane, which would provide additional outdoor options for students.”
Forrest Lee, a physical education teacher at Troy Elementary, expressed gratitude to Blue Cross Blue Shield and Troy University for helping make the grant a reality.
“We hope this grant will help us to increase the overall fitness level of our students,” Lee said. “It will allow our students to get outside and be involved in more fitness-related activities through the fitness stations and the walking/running trail. Our goal is to enhance the program that we have. We have some great facilities here and the addition of this outdoor fitness trail will greatly improve the overall physical education plan that we here at Troy Elementary School.”
The grant was among the 26 awarded this year to schools serving students in grades kindergarten through six throughout the state, impacting more than 12,200 students. The grants help to fund the implementation of school-based health and wellness programs that emphasize increased exercise, nutrition education and parental involvement in schools. Since 2012, Blue Cross has awarded more than $1 million in 114 Be Healthy School grants statewide, benefitting more than 57,500 students.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama has insured Alabamians for more than 80 years, offering coverage plans to corporations, individuals and the senior market. The company dedicates time and resources through its foundation, its annual participation in United Way drives statewide, the National Walk @ Lunch and Alabama Walk @ School days and its annual Day of Caring.