Recognizing that school is where children spend most of their daily lives – making it an ideal place to encourage healthy habits – the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas (BCBSKS) Foundation is sending $148,757.65 in Healthy Habits for Life grants to schools in 65 Kansas counties. The 154 separate grants will help school nurses, teachers and administrators fund programs or activities in 2018 aimed at helping thousands of children reduce their cardiovascular risk, increase their physical activity or learn healthy eating habits.

Butler County has three grant recipients:

• Jenny Page, PE instructor at Rose Hill High School, received $1,000.

• Lyle Dosser, principal at Lincoln Elementary School, received $959.20.

• Erik Sorum, PE teacher at Flinthills Middle/High School, received $1,000.

"Healthy Habits for Life was the first major grant program developed by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Foundation and, 12 years later, it still fills an existing need in helping curb childhood obesity rates in Kansas," Marlou Wegener, chief operating officer of the BCBSKS Foundation, said. "The Foundation's board of directors remains committed to funding at-school health programs that a teacher or staff member might not otherwise be able to deliver due to tight budgets.

"It is our nurses, teachers and administrators who are on the front line of our collective efforts to slow the childhood obesity epidemic in Kansas," she said. "It is through their dedication that we have hope that this generation of Kansas children will learn more than reading, writing and arithmetic at school; we have hope that they also will learn the life-long healthy habits that will lead them to healthy adulthood and brighter futures."

The BCBSKS Foundation has now distributed 1,391 Healthy Habits for Life grants totaling $1,316,341.56 during 12 giving cycles. The most recent grants will be used during 2018 for a variety of programs ranging from purchasing heart monitors, healthy snacks or nutrition curriculum, to organizing health fairs and walking programs.

The amount of each grant was based on the applicant’s request for the program he or she proposed, up to a maximum of $1,000. The school district or private school must be located in the service area of the BCBSKS Foundation (all Kansas counties except Johnson and Wyandotte).