VES and TIS receive Be Healthy grants

Thompson Intermediate School was awarded a $9,500 grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama as part of the Be Healthy School Grant program. (Contributed)

Thompson Intermediate School was awarded a $9,500 grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama as part of the Be Healthy School Grant program. (Contributed)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama awarded both Valley Elementary School and Thompson Intermediate School grants of more than $9,500 each as part of the organization’s Be Healthy School Grant program on Sept. 5.

“(The goal) is to improve the overall health and assist in helping the kids,” Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama Community Relations Manager Jeff Adams said. “Blue Cross has committed $250,000 this year, awarded to schools across Alabama.”

Since the program was started three years ago, Blue Cross and Blue Shield has awarded more than $519,000 to school in the state. This year, VES and TES were two of only 28 schools chosen from the more than 100 that applied. They were also the only two schools chosen from Shelby County.

Applications were submitted from January through March and judged by “a team of people” in three main areas: Exercise, nutrition and parental involvement, Adams explained.

“(VES and TIS) were very specific in what they wanted to accomplish. They laid out their goal and they laid out the steps they were going to take to achieve their goals,” Adams said. “Valley and Thompson are very fortunate, they both have a base on which to build.”

This year marks TIS��s second year of receiving the Be Healthy grant.

“We had a great experience with Thompson Intermediate School the previous year, and we look forward to doing it again,” Adams said.

TIS was awarded $9,500 grant and VES was awarded a $9,900 to be used to improve the health of their students, Adams said.

“We make sure the majority of the money is spent on things that will help the students,” Adams explained, noting schools have a variety of programs to improve student health, from physical activity to the use of technology like Wii Sports. “Different schools have different programs, so there’s not a one size fits all.”

Adams said both VES and TIS have “innovative and cutting edge ideas” and plan to use the grant money to purchase both “physical equipment” and software to build up and enhance their programs.

“They won’t need the basics,” Adams said of both schools. “They’re building on what they already have.”