Highmark Foundation awards $311,950 to schools in Western Pa. for innovative, healthy programs - WSMV Channel 4

Highmark Foundation awards $311,950 to schools in Western Pa. for innovative, healthy programs

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SOURCE Highmark Foundation

PITTSBURGH, Aug. 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The Highmark Foundation has awarded schools in Western Pennsylvania with $311,950 in "Creating a Healthy School Environment" grants for innovative, healthy programs that begin in September when local students head back to schools.

View the full list of school grantees on the Highmark Foundation website, www.highmarkfoundation.org.

Ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 each, 55 grants were awarded to Western Pennsylvania schools serving students in kindergarten through 12th grades for programming in one of four key areas:

  • Bullying prevention
  • Child injury prevention
  • Healthy eating and physical activity
  • Physical and environmental health

Eligible schools included districts, vocational, private, and parochial and charter schools in the Highmark Foundation's Western Pennsylvania service area.

"Since a large portion of a child's day is spent in school, the school environment is regarded as one of the most effective settings to promote health and wellness," said Yvonne Cook, president of the Highmark Foundation. "These grants support schools who are diligently working to help children develop healthy behaviors. Through this program, we are proud to continue the foundation's commitment to the health of our children."

Examples of how the school grants will be used include programs such as "Wii Love to be Fit," "Take Care of Your Brain," "Physical Education Meets Technology," "Eat Smart," "A Breath of Green Air" and the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program.

"As a result of our funding from the Highmark Foundation for our Breath of Green Air program, Gateway School District will be able to replace harmful cleaning agents with green cleaning products," said Dr. Nina Zetty, superintendent of schools for the Gateway School District. "This will improve our air quality, especially for our students and staff who suffer from various illnesses such as asthma, allergies and COPD. We believe that a healthy school environment breeds a better learning environment and workplace for our students and employees."

The Highmark Foundation's "Creating a Healthy School Environment" grant program is now in its second year, with grant-making for the program now totaling more than $940,000 for programs in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

The Highmark Foundation is a private, charitable organization of Highmark Inc. that supports initiatives and programs aimed at improving community health. For more information, visit www.highmarkfoundation.org.

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