Wellness Grant from PHS Supports Outdoor Physical Activity at Schools

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During the 2021-2022 school year, Project Healthy Schools awarded 22 wellness grants to eligible returning schools who applied during the fall and winter grant cycles. Schools were awarded up to $800 for each grant cycle to support health and wellness initiatives that would enhance the school wellness culture at their school for their students and staff. Blesch Intermediate School in Menominee, MI is located in the Upper Peninsula and has been a proud BHC:PHS school since 2019. Blesch loves to engage their students outside as much as they can. They created wellness initiatives where students came together and built snow forts outside using buckets purchased with their PHS wellness grant. They also used sleds purchased with their PHS wellness grant to keep their students physically active outside during the long Michigan winter. PHS wellness champion Wendy Rauch says, “One of the biggest impacts is that the PHS wellness grant has given our students the opportunity to experience activities that they otherwise would not have been able to experience. The wellness initiatives have made it possible to bring our student body together and participate in healthy activities in the classroom and outside. PHS has taught our students valuable health lessons that will be carried on throughout their lives. Our students are making better lifestyle choices. They are more engaged in positive recess activities and there are less behavior issues on the playground due to students concentrating and focusing on fitness activities.” Great job Blesch Intermediate School on your amazing ingenuity of keeping your students active and healthy amid a cold Michigan winter!

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Students at Blesch Intermediate School in the Upper Peninsula utilize buckets purchased with their PHS wellness grant to make a snow fort that promoted outdoor physical activity.

Staff Wellness Success at New BHC:PHS School

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Six new schools were welcomed into the BHC:PHS program in Fall 2021. One of these new schools is Great Lakes Learning Academy. Great Lakes Learning Academy is a tuition-free online public school for students who want a quality education with award-winning curriculum, certified teachers, and personalized learning plans. Although virtual, their office for staff to work out of is located in East Lansing, MI. As part of their wellness initiatives, GLLA decided to host an in-person smoothie bar for staff to utilize during lunch time for an entire week. They set up blenders, ingredients, and posted recipes for staff to follow. Some of their other wellness initiatives that are being utilized for both staff and students include a water drinking challenge, step and physical activity challenge, as well as a virtual cookbook for students to utilize at home. PHS wellness champion Shannon Donaldson says, “Project Healthy Schools has done a great job supplying GLLA with the resources needed to take health and wellness at our school to the next level. Being a virtual school, it is essential for our staff and students to set aside time to get moving throughout the day and learn the skills needed to eat healthy at home. We applaud PHS for recognizing that the health of students who attend online schools is as valuable as any other student.” Congratulations to Great Lakes Learning Academy on supporting their students and staff through creative and engaging wellness initiatives!

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School staff at Great Lakes Learning Academy engage with their staff wellness smoothie bar

Apply Now to Join the BHC:PHS Program

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Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the University of Michigan is partnering to bring the Building Healthy Communities: Engaging Middle Schools through Project Healthy Schools program to new middle schools across the state of Michigan for the 2022-2023 school year. The BHC:PHS program is a comprehensive school-wide initiative designed to prevent childhood obesity and create healthy school environments. All public, charter, and nonprofit private middle schools who have not previously participated in a BHC program are invited to apply.

We will be hosting an informative webinar and Q&A session about joining our program on Tuesday, May 24th at 3:30pm EST. Please register for the webinar here. The webinar will be recorded and posted onto the RFA website listed below for those unavailable to attend.

Our request for applications is available here and officially closes on August 26, 2022 at 11:59pm EST. We look forward to welcoming new schools to the BHC:PHS program this coming fall!

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