Ready to Learn Providence and Child and Family Service Agency Collaborators Receive $75,000 Blue Cross Grant


PROVIDENCE, RI (March 4, 2014) – Ready to Learn Providence (R2LP), a
school-readiness organization working to close the educational achievement
gap, has received a $75,000 grant from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode
Island (BCBSRI) to fund Let’s Get Moving!, an initiative to help child and
family service agencies train and support their staff in enhancing
nutrition and exercise programming for children under five.

The funding will be used in a collaborative effort among local child and
family service agencies, including partners Children’s Friend and the
Providence Community Library, as well as 10 center-based child care
programs and three Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) organizations. The
collaborators will work together to train and support staff in adopting
program enhancements for children that increase physical activity and
promote healthy food choices. One of these enhancements is the “I am Moving
I am Learning” (IM/IL) program, a research-based initiative developed as a
Head Start enhancement program to address childhood obesity. R2LP and its
partners estimate that the program will positively benefit more than 1,000
local children.

R2LP is an initiative of The Providence Plan (ProvPlan), founded to improve
the economic and social well-being of Providence, its residents, and its
Funding for the R2LP collaboration is part of the 2014 BlueAngel Community
Health Grant Program (BACHG), which supports nonprofit organizations
addressing critical health issues in Rhode Island.

 “One of the unique benefits of Let’s Get Moving! is that it can be
implemented in any child care setting,” said Leslie Gell, Director of Ready
to Learn Providence. “Our ‘training the trainer’ model, which will help us
work closely with area agencies to implement the program, enables us to
have a real impact on fighting issues of childhood obesity and improving
health outcomes in the community in a lasting way.”

In 2014, BCBSRI celebrates 75 years of providing high quality coverage and
peace of mind to thousands of Rhode Island families. In recognition of this
milestone anniversary, BCBSRI will award three $75,000 BlueAngel Community
Health grants to agency collaboration that provide community education and
outreach on the importance of good nutrition, physical activity and
maintaining a healthy weight for children and their families. For the first
time this year, grants are focused exclusively on programs impacting
childhood obesity

“The collaborative effort of Ready to Learn Providence and its partners is
an excellent model that helps underserved children understand and commit to
healthy behaviors,” said Michele Lederberg, Chief Administrative Officer of
BCBSRI. “We are celebrating our 75 years in the community this year, and
our BlueAngel program is one way we can support community-based agencies
working to help Rhode Islanders – many of whom are tomorrow’s leaders –
live healthier lives.”

The BACHG Program is the cornerstone of BCBSRI’s charitable giving. Since
the Program’s inception in 2002, BCBSRI has donated over $2.3 million
dollars to support Rhode Island nonprofit organizations helping un- and
under-insured Rhode Islanders to live healthier lives. More than 220,000
people in Rhode Island have been touched by funded programs since the
BACHG’s launch.

In July 2013, BCBSRI issued a call for Letters of Inquiry from
organizations seeking BACHG funding, specifically seeking programs that aim
to combat childhood obesity in Rhode Island communities. Out of twenty-one
agencies, three collaborations were chosen to receive $75,000 grants. The
BACHG program provides one year of funding and an opportunity to reapply in
year-two for transitional funding, if successful performance outcomes have
been achieved.