Birmingham Parent Magazine June 2017 Issue

Page 8

short stuff

Blue Cross and Blue Shield Awards Grants to Address Childhood Obesity In our commitment to help prevent childhood obesity, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama’s Be Healthy School Grant Program is awarding $250,000 in grants to 26 schools statewide enrolling students in grades K through sixth for the 2017 - 2018 school year. The grants are for the implementation of school-based health and wellness programs, emphasizing increased exercise, nutrition education and parental involvement during the school year. More than 12,200 students will benefit from the program. Each school is receiving a grant up to $10,000. Since 2012, Blue Cross has awarded over $1,019,800 in 114 Be Healthy School Grants statewide impacting more than 57,500 students. Congratulations to the following local area schools receiving grants for the 2017-2018 school year(others in the state also received awards):


Hand in Paw Launches Trauma and Grief Response Program Hand in Paw, a local animal-assisted therapy organization, has formally launched a community service to send its most experienced volunteers to provide emotional support and comfort in the aftermath of tragedies. For 21 years, Hand in Paw’s volunteer handler and animal therapy teams have improved the health and well-being of people in need, serving in cancer centers, domestic violence shelters, counseling offices, palliative care units, youth group homes and more. Thanks to a partnership with Samford University’s Department of Social Work, Hand in Paw has prepared its therapy teams to act as calming agents who decrease stress and offer a pause from the situation. Hand in Paw teams do not provide counseling; they serve under the direction of the onsite staff, who can utilize them as powerful tools to offer positive distractions from worry or open the lines of communication. Rebeccah Carroll, who is pursuing a master of social work in Samford’s School of Public Health, developed the program, trained volunteers and raised community awareness of the service while serving a two-semester internship at Hand in Paw. “I found that I truly have a passion for trauma and crisis interventions and treatments,” Carroll says. “During my internship, I found that Hand in Paw has been responding to trauma and grief situations for many years, but our volunteers wanted formal training in this area. I am thrilled to see the excitement from our volunteers and our community as we launch it, and I am eager to see how the program will benefit our community during difficult situations.” Laura Cardwell, Hand in Paw executive director, says the program’s goal is to provide a soothing encounter with anyone who has experienced a lifechanging event. “Thanks to Rebeccah Carroll, this new program will help Hand in Paw provide a vital service to the well-being of our community,” Cardwell says. Schools, nonprofit agencies, and other community organizations can request the program by calling Emily Cheatwood, Hand in Paw program director, at 205-322-5144 x156. The program is free of charge and subject to availability. For more information about Hand in Paw, visit 8 | birminghamparent | june 2017

School Buhl Elementary Cahaba Elementary Clay Elementary Fayetteville High School Greenwood Elementary Huntington Place Indian Valley Elementary Jasper Intermediate School Martha Gaskins Elementary Montevallo Elementary Pelham Oaks Elementary Robinson Elementary Valley Jr. High

City County Tuscaloosa Tuscaloosa Trussville Jefferson Clay Jefferson Sylacauga Talladega Bessemer Jefferson Northport Tuscaloosa Sylacauga Talladega Jasper Walker Birmingham Jefferson Montevallo Shelby Pelham Shelby Birmingham Jefferson Jasper Walker