Highmark Healthy High 5 School Challenge Program Awards $605,000 in Grants to 75 Pennsylvania Schools

PITTSBURGH, April 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Highmark Foundation, through the Highmark Healthy High 5 School Challenge, recently awarded $605,000 in grants to 75 elementary, middle and high schools across Pennsylvania. The grants will support programs that address bullying prevention and self-esteem, improve nutrition education, enhance nutrition choices and provide opportunities for physical activity.

"Through the Highmark Healthy High 5 School Challenge, we have asked schools to help us help children," said Highmark Foundation President Yvonne Cook. "We know that schools play a vital role in the lives of children and adolescents and we are proud to provide them with the resources and tools that will improve the health status of their students."

Due to the overwhelming response received from schools, the board of the Highmark Foundation at its March 2008 meeting also approved an additional $1.5 million to be awarded through the Highmark Healthy High 5 School Challenge during the remainder of this year. Last year, the Foundation announced its intention to award a total of $1 million in grants through the School Challenge in 2008; however, the School Challenge now has the resources to award a total of $2.5 million this year.

Also new in 2008, the Highmark Healthy High 5 School Challenge expanded to award grants for programs that focus on bullying prevention and self-esteem. In past years, School Challenge grants were awarded only to physical activity and nutrition initiatives.

"We know that physical activity and nutrition programs are beneficial to helping children live longer, healthier lives," said Cook. "However, bullying is a serious issue in schools and we believe that it needs to be addressed. By supporting bullying prevention programs, we are working to improve the overall health, well-being and self-esteem of students."

Highmark Healthy High 5 School Challenge grants are awarded throughout the year. Schools are invited to apply for School Challenge grants by visiting the Highmark Healthy High 5 Web site at http://www.highmarkhealthyhigh5.org and clicking on "Grant Process for Schools," to download and complete the grant application.

The following schools received Highmark Healthy High 5 School Challenge grants in March 2008. For more information on the supported program at each school, visit http://www.highmarkhealthyhigh5.org and click on "Schools."

About Highmark Healthy High 5

Highmark Healthy High 5 is a five-year, $100 million children's health promotion initiative of the Highmark Foundation. The mission of the initiative is to improve the health of children and adolescents ages 6-18 by providing them with the tools and practices needed to make informed decisions about living healthier lives. Highmark Healthy High 5 addresses five critical children's health promotion issues -- nutrition, physical activity, self-esteem, grieving, and bullying prevention -- by raising awareness, changing behavior through grants and programs, and providing resources to parents, schools and communities served by the Highmark Foundation.

Highmark Healthy High 5 is an initiative of the Highmark Foundation. For more information, visit http://www.highmarkhealthyhigh5.org or call 800-789-1726.

SOURCE The Highmark Foundation

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