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Cahaba Elementary celebrates their Be Healthy School Grant award.
Photo courtesy of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama

Have you heard about the Be Healthy School Grant Program? It’s an opportunity for Alabama schools to win a $10K health and wellness grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama. It’s super easy to apply, but you’ll need to send in that application by March 27.

We checked in with two Birmingham-area grant recipients to see how the program is going—hear from them below. Interested in the grant? Apply here

What’s the Be Healthy School Grant Program?

Students grab healthy snacks at Green Acres Middle, one of the grant recipients this year. Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now 

Each year, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama awards up to $10,000 to Alabama schools for the implementation of school-based health and wellness programs. The Be Healthy School Grant Program emphasizes increased exercise, nutrition education and parental involvement.

The Program in Action: Cahaba Elementary

Jamie Giangrosso, physical education (PE) teacher at Cahaba Elementary in Trussville, secured the grant on behalf of her school two years in a row. She applied so Cahaba Elementary could purchase necessary PE equipment for its students as well as materials on the Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) program, which teaches children and their parents about the importance of exercise and nutrition.

Incorporating Wellness at School and at Home

Green Acres Middle’s pep rally for the Be Healthy School grant award. Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

We all know a healthy lifestyle begins at home. Green Acres Middle School is using the grant to buy PE equipment and to obtain fun and educational nutrition information from The OrganWise Guys to empower students and their families.

“Parents are given nutritional boxes on a monthly basis from the PTA, and healthy exercise and nutrition [from] the physical education and science teacher will continue to enhance our community. The Be Healthy Grant Program has afforded our students the ability to share with parents the healthy lifestyles learned in school.”

Anthony Oliver, principal, Green Acres Middle School 

PE looks different these days. 

Back at Cahaba Elementary, Jamie is using some of the grant funding for iPads.

Wait, iPads for PE class? Yes, you read that correctly. Jamie’s students are using them to video their athletic performance and find areas of strength and weakness. They’re also using apps that demonstrate how the brain and heart work. 

It sounds futuristic, but one of the apps has a 3D hologram showingstudents a heart as if they’re holding it in their hand. They can see a realistic depiction of how it works and discuss why heart health is important and how a healthy heart should function.

This sounds amazing—in my time we had capture the flag and dodgeball.

The Impact

Getting $10,000 for your school is something to cheer about! Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

Jamie said the program has made students more accountable and excited about healthy living. 

“They love to see the [grant] check on the wall, and it’s exciting for them. It makes them take more ownership in what we do. They want to show we’re proud of it, and we’re doing the best we can with it.”

Green Acres Middle School’s sixth graders are also enjoying new PE equipment thanks to the program.

“The Be Healthy Grant Program has given us the opportunity to work with students as they develop healthy eating, workout, and lifestyle habits. The PE equipment has been a welcome addition to our physical education program. Students are also able to enjoy the equipment during our after school program.”

Anthony Oliver, principal at Green Acres Middle School

What are the requirements for the grant?

Green Acres Middle accepts their grant check from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama. Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

To be eligible for the grant, a school must:

  • Be located in Alabama
  • Serve students in grades K-6 
  • Be public or private non-profit

Note that awards are payable to schools only. 

Apply Today

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama has awarded more than $1.8 million in Be Healthy School Grants statewide—impacting over 96,000 students—since introducing the program in 2012. Now is your school’s chance! Apply via this link

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