Healthy Kids, Healthy Families® (HKHF) is a signature program of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana (BCBSMT) and is part of an ongoing commitment to invest in or partner with nonprofit organizations that offer sustainable, measurable programs to reach children and their families. The initiative has five focus areas—nutrition, physical activity, disease prevention and management, supporting safe environments and suicide prevention. In 2015, BCBSMT received 29 applications for HKHF grants totaling $1.5 million and each was evaluated by a committee on the basis of impact, feasibility, capacity, collaboration, and sustainability. Four awards of $50,000 were granted in August 2015:
The Kay McKenna Youth Foundation will expand and improve their Kay’s Kids Summer Recreation Program administered by the City of Helena Parks and Recreation Department. The program provides non-competitive sports activities, arts and crafts, guest speakers, safety training, nutritious lunch or snacks and a safe environment for kids to go each weekday. It’s free and open to children ages 6 to 13. The program offers a safe and enjoyable environment for disadvantaged children and at-risk youth. All children are welcome.
Thrive, a 28-year-old Bozeman organization focused on engaging parents and empowering children, will use the HKHF grant to enhance the Partnership Project to Strengthen Families. The project is focused on providing services to high-risk teen or young parents with children ages 0 to 5. The services include providing parent education and support, health, mental health and child care services though collaboration with Gallatin City-County Health, and a network of mental health and child care providers. Founded in 1986, Thrive serves more than 8,800 individuals each year through its varied programs.
Western Montana Mental Health Center (WMMHC) will channel the grant to the Child and Family Service Network, a division of WMMHC founded in 1997 in response to the Missoula area’s growing need for mental health services to support children, adolescents and their families. The network’s goal is to help youth and families manage the hardship brought about by mental illness. As the need for its services swells, this grant will help the Child and Family Service Network strengthens its programs. The WMMHC has been providing mental health services to Montanans since the organization’s founding in 1942.
Riverstone Health Foundation was awarded the grant on behalf of the Health By Design Coalition, which will use the money for the Health Champions program to improve the health of residents in Yellowstone County by increasing lifestyle-based physical activity of children and families. The focus of the program will be on middle school and high school students and it’s estimated that the HKHF funding will help serve 1,400 children and 125 adults during the grant cycle. Riverstone Health will work in concert with Montana Amateur Sports to implement the Health Champions program.