Blue Cross & Blue Shield of MS Foundation Awards Project Fit America Program to Oak Park

Supporting Mississippi’s schools, communities, colleges and universities in their efforts to make our state healthy is the goal of the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation. Since 2005, the Foundation has awarded grant funding to schools across the state for the installation of fitness equipment and supporting health curricula. Recently, the Foundation added 32 more schools to this list, including Oak Park Elementary School of Laurel, bringing the total to 240 schools and more than $6 million in grant funding.

The grant will provide health and fitness equipment and curricula obtained from the Project Fit America organization. Oak Park Elementary will host its ribbon-cutting ceremony at its campus on Friday, October 27, 2017 at 1 p.m.

“Educating our young people in every area is our top priority. We realize the importance of exposing them to physical education to produce healthy leaders of tomorrow. Realizing that the state obesity rate in Mississippi is at an all time high, this new Project Fit Program will allow us to empower our students with knowledge and the fuel of understanding to diminish the plague against obesity,” said Oak Park Principal Tito Lanier.

The Project Fit America Program includes indoor and outdoor P.E. equipment, training for teachers, curricula and lesson plan support supplies. The outdoor equipment is specifically designed to address upper body, lower body, abdominal strength, cardiovascular endurance and flexibility for children.

The freestanding structures of seven fitness stations are permanently installed outdoors on the school grounds. The indoor equipment includes 1,000 “cardio cups” which are used for teamwork, challenge and cooperative cardiovascular activities. Also included are sport hoops, medicine balls and stability balls, providing weighted activity options that support upper body strength, cardio and abdominal training and development providing weighted activity options that support upper body strength, cardio and abdominal training and development.

The Project Fit America Program is designed to align with the state-mandated policy of 150 minutes of physical activity each week and to help students develop the knowledge, skills, and confidence needed to be physically active for a lifetime.

“The health and wellness of our students is vital to the future of Mississippi,” said Sheila Grogan, Executive Director of the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation. “We are confident Oak Park Elementary School students will benefit from this program and from making health and fitness a regular part of their lives.”

The Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation provides targeted funding throughout the state of Mississippi, focusing on interests related to health programs for schools, colleges and universities, and communities. You can learn more at www.healthiermississippi.org

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