On Monday, Nov. 21, Live Well Crawford County will hold two meetings — one in Pittsburg and one in Girard — to share with area residents, educators, healthcare providers, restaurant owners, worksite representatives, and hospital personnel how to share part of a $215,000 grant awarded by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas.
Called “Pathways to a Healthy Kansas,” it is the largest community grant program ever awarded by the company. Crawford County is one of eight recipients. In announcing the grant, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas officials said the grant award was designed to help communities establish and sustain healthy policies, environments, and lifestyles.
The funding for each community also includes a coordination grant award of $100,000, for a total of $315,000 for Crawford County.
Live Well’s new director, Brad Stroud, said there are seven pathways eligible for allotments from the grant award, to be used for implementation and to recognize achievement: community policy, resident/community well-being, the food retail sector, health care, restaurants, schools and worksites.
Those who wish to apply should attend Monday’s kickoff at 8 a.m. at Memorial Auditorium, 503 N. Pine St. in Pittsburg, or the kickoff at 5:30 p.m. at Girard Public Library, 128 W. Prairie Ave. in Girard. Those planning to attend should RSVP Stroud at 620-704-0019 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Stroud said each person or group who wishes to apply will sign a “Pathways Healthy Pledge” that is specific to the type of business entity or organization they are with or represent.
In addition to the grant dollars, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas is providing the communities with technical assistance for planning, evaluation, communications and measurement through partnerships with Kansas Health Institute and the Community Engagement Institute at Wichita State University.
Also, elementary schools in each county will have free access to GoNoodle Plus for the duration of the funding period. GoNoodle is a website with interactive games and videos that get children moving throughout the day. The activities are designed to help children channel their physical and emotional energy for good -- improving behavior, focus and achievement.
"While the intent of Pathways to Healthy Kansas is three-fold, it is centered on the idea of creating environments where the healthy choice is the easy choice to make," said Virginia Barnes, MPH, director of Blue Health Initiatives and developer of the grant program. "We want to work closely with each community to inspire long-lasting, community-wide well-being, focus on strategies that build community engagement and transform the way residents stay healthy as they work, play and interact socially, and, last but not least, incorporate more opportunities to be healthy in daily routines so that a healthy culture is cultivated now and for generations to come."
A second application process will begin in 2017 in order to identify an additional eight communities to participate in a three-year funding program from 2017 to 2020.