Geary County is one of eight Kansas communities recently selected as a grantee in the largest community grant program ever funded by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas. The Pathways to a Healthy Kansas program provides community coalitions like Live Well Geary County with the tools and resources needed to remove barriers and engage the community in ways that enable healthy eating and tobacco-free, active living to become a way of life. The funding for Geary County includes a coordination grant of $100,000, with the opportunity to apply for non-competitive implementation and achievements grants amounting to $400,000, for a total of $500,000, during the next three years.
“We envision Kansans living in healthy communities that provide the highest possible quality of life and well-being. As the state’s largest health insurer, we are well-positioned to understand the barriers to good health that Kansans face,” said Andrew C. Corbin, BCBSKS president/CEO. “The Pathways to a Healthy Kansas initiative is an outgrowth of our commitment to more strategically invest our expertise, time and dollars in helping remove those barriers and build healthy communities in Kansas.”
In addition to the grant dollars, Blue Cross is providing Geary County with technical assistance for planning, evaluation, communications and measurement through partnerships with Kansas Health Institute and the Community Engagement Institute at Wichita State University. Additional technical partners include WorkWell Kansas, The Public Health Law Center and Thrive Allen County.
Also, elementary schools in Geary 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.
“The intent of Pathways is to help communities create environments where the healthy choice is the easy choice to make, now and for generations to come” said Virginia Barnes, MPH, director of Blue Health Initiatives and developer of the grant program. “We look forward to working closely with Live Well Geary County to inspire long-lasting, community-wide well-being by focusing on strategies that build community engagement and transform the way residents of Geary County stay healthy as they live, work and interact socially.”