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Every year we expand our community partnerships. This lets us lead the effort to improve the health and well-being of North Carolina. Go NC! (Get Outside, North Carolina!) is a program to help you get outside and get active.
Go NC! has helped make the following projects possible:
Charlotte B-Cycle Program - North Carolina's first bike sharing program. Ridership and membership kept growing in 2016. And, the program helped support and sponsor many neighborhood events throughout the city.
The 12-mile Gary Shell Cross-City Trail connecting downtown Wilmington to Wrightsville Beach.
The Blue Loop at the NC Museum of Art. Integrates the museum's art park with Raleigh's greenway system.
PlayPrints - colorful sidewalk art and games in parks across the state to encourage kids - and adults - to be more active. Over 221,000 people have taken part in PlayPrints out of the 21 sites in NC. New locations are added all the time.
Hideaway Woods - a two-acre outdoor play area at the Durham Museum of Life and Science. It features a flowing stream, nature sculptures and eight interconnected treehouses. Hideaway Woods encourages natural discovery and outdoor play. There's even a special area with scaled sides, bridges, and imagination play for younger kids.
Extended greenway and park connections on the Middle Fork greenway between Boone and Blowing Rock.
PlayPrints Prove that Color Helps Create Healthier Kids
PlayPrints are colorful shapes, images and games painted on open pavement. Research shows that children who visit playgrounds with these artful markings take part in a greater amount of physical activity during recess than children at unmarked playgrounds.1
Our On-Site Garden: Feeding Local Families for Five Years
For five years, our on-site community garden has provided food for local hungry families. We’ve donated almost 1,000 pounds of crops to our partners at Inter-Faith Food Shuttle to distribute to those in need of healthy, fresh food. But things are changing, and we couldn’t be happier.
In the past, as part of the Nourishing North Carolina grant program, BCBSNC funded the garden and donated all produce to the Food Shuttle. Volunteers from BCBSNC helped to harvest the vegetables, which were then passed on to Urban Ministries of Durham to distribute to various programs and organizations that provide food for the hungry. It also provided education to students, who would then bring their experience home and share it with their families, spreading the message about available healthy, nutritious foods. Our garden served 135 day care students in 2015 alone. And the Food Shuttle ran gardens like ours all over town, so their impact was and is exponential.
Location, Location, Location
But then a chance arose for them to bring their gardens together in one place and closer to the population they serve, to further boost their impact, and they jumped at it. So did we. Inter-faith Food Shuttle’s move to Bull City Cool, a food hub for serving located in downtown Durham, meant BCBSNC could also grow our contribution and serve more of those in need in our backyard. Bull City Cool sits in “a former Gulf filling station built in 1928 [and] serves as a key connection for local nonprofits, small businesses and farmers, providing office space and refrigeration to preserve fresh produce.”
Eliza Bordley, Inter-Faith’s Durham food security coordinator, managed BCBSNC’s community garden as part of her role. Now, as they pull their community gardens together at the food hub, she coordinates volunteers who are building and maintaining one large community garden in a lot across from Bull City Cool. Putting their efforts into one place helps Bordley and the Food Shuttle do more. In addition to the increased ability to provide fresh food, they’re better able to offer education and rewarding experiences that will help foster healthy eating in the community.
Cooking Classes – and Beekeeping?
Our gift will support Inter-Faith Food Shuttle in creating the Geer Street Learning Garden and new food storage facilities. They’ll offer cooking classes for families and workshops on everything from beekeeping to building rain gardens. And of course they’ll continue their outreach activities, such as the BackPack Buddies program for children.
Pooling Resources for Double the Impact
Also, with the land and resources available at this new site, Inter-Faith Food Shuttle projects that our investment will allow them to grow 300-500 pounds of food each year. By pooling our resources with the Food Shuttle, we’ll almost double our impact in the community. And we can contribute with boots on the ground, too, as our employees and their families volunteer at Bull City Cool. Evening and weekend volunteer opportunities give our volunteers a chance to engage with other community members and the families who benefit from this food hub.
We want to participate on every level, making NC healthier and contributing to this amazing effort to make good, nutritious food available to everyone here at home.
Walking Trails and Greenways
Get Outside North Carolina! We're investing in the community and invisting in good health by making it easier to get outside and get active with a public bicycle program and additions to a variety of North Carolina greenways.
North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA)
1 mile of multi-use trail was built on the museum’s 164-acre art-park campus in Raleigh.
Gary Shell Cross-City Trail
15 miles of continuous, multi-use trails that provide bicycle and pedestrian access to numerous recreational, cultural and educational destinations in Wilmington.
Museum of Life and Science
1.4 miles of trails have been added to the outdoor learning space.
KaBOOM! and Blue Cross NC Build Kids’ Dream Playgrounds
Play “Fosters Healthy and Productive Lives”
Empowering Kids Through Play
KaBOOM! is a national non-profit working "to bring balanced and active play into the daily lives of all children, particularly those growing up in poverty in America."1 Their mission translates to action by building playgrounds, supporting play in communities and promoting the message of the "importance of play in fostering healthy and productive lives."1
One of the best things about the organization is its focus on empowerment - of communities, sure, but especially of children.
The kids get to take part in the KaBOOM! design process [insert link], drawing their dream playgrounds, and the designers in Washington, DC, use them to come up with three designs that the kids then vote on, so they get to design and choose their own playground and really become invested in the project.
Then, communities get involved – BCBSNC is not alone in volunteering. Community volunteers come out to the build and everyone gets invested. And kids get to feel like someone cares. They are important. And heard. It's beautiful.
Building Play Spaces: Living the BCBSNC Mission
BCBSNC supports KaBOOM! by volunteering at playground builds across the state, from the planning stages all the way through construction. The Asheville Project Summer 2015 blog post [insert link] is the seventh KaBOOM! build for BCBSNC employee volunteers, with other play spaces in Winston-Salem, Durham, Greensboro (two locations), Wilmington and Fayetteville [insert link].
Kathy Higgins, VP of Corporate Affairs at BCBSNC said in her blog post about the Fayetteville [insert link] build:
The KaBOOM! projects reflect our mission statement: To improve the health and well being of our customers and communities. I'm proud that at Blue Cross, we don't just talk about a mission – we live it by working with leaders and volunteers ... to address community needs.
Triangle Residents are Invited to Try a New Kind of Fitness Program
Look at you! Getting 10,000 in steps while spending quality time with your family. You’re meeting your 2016 goals for fitness and being a great role model for your kids.
It isn't a dream. You've discovered "Walk of the Week," the new walking series created by Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC (Blue Cross) and the Museum of Life and Science, that leads visitors and families on educational scavenger hunts through the museum's 84 acres of scenic woodlands.
Walk of the Week builds on the museum's interactive, hands-on experience by providing self-guided walking tours with a new nature theme each week. Walkers get a hint or clue at the start of the walk, and a map leading them to an exciting and educational discovery in the great outdoors.
In North Carolina, 1 in 3 children is obese1 and adults have the 17th highest obesity rate in the nation.2
"I'm pleased to have Blue Cross NC as a supporter of the museum's educational mission and the upcoming expansion of our outdoor environment," says Barry Van Deman, president and CEO, Museum of Life and Science. "Healthy development includes keeping a sense of wonder alive, and that's what the museum offers."
Blue Cross NC and the Museum are teaming up through 2016 to provide more opportunities for North Carolina families to stay active and learn together. As part of their three-year partnership, Blue Cross NC has made a $150,000 commitment to bring the museum one step closer to adding 1.8 miles of outdoor trails to its campus. This infrastructure will help the museum's 440,000 annual visitors access four more acres of new outdoor exhibits planned to open in 2016.
"Regular physical activity is essential to leading a healthy life, which in turn helps to control the cost of health care," says Brad Wilson, Blue Cross NC president and CEO. "But families shouldn't have to choose between family time and a workout. In the right setting, you can accomplish these two things together."
Why a walk every week?
National guidelines recommend that children spend at least seven hours each week, or 60 minutes each day, doing moderate physical activity.3
A brisk walk can burn up to 100 calories per mile or 300 calories per hour.4
Every $1 spent on the construction of biking trails and walking paths can save an estimated $3 in medical expenses.5
Walk of the Week is designed to encourage health and fitness for North Carolina children and families in a fun, educational environment. Blue Cross NC's support for the program is part of Get Outside North Carolina! [need link] (GO NC!), a broader effort by the company to encourage North Carolinians to embrace active lifestyles.
Follow Blue Cross NC and the Museum of Life and Science on Facebook and Twitter using #walkoftheweek and #lifeandscience to discover a new "Walk of the Week" each week through 2016.
About the Museum of Life and Science
The Museum of Life and Science is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to create a place of lifelong learning where people, from young children to senior citizens, embrace science as a way of knowing about themselves, their community, and their world. Located just blocks from downtown Durham, the Museum of Life and Science is one of the North Carolina's top family destinations as voted by the readers of Carolina Parent, Durham Magazine and The Independent Weekly. Situated on 84-acres, the museum's interactive science park includes a two-story science center, one of the largest butterfly conservatories on the East Coast and beautifully landscaped outdoor exhibits, which are safe havens for rescued black bears, lemurs, and endangered red wolves. Learn more at lifeandscience.orghttp://lifeandscience.org
Charlotte Bike Share
Where can you find hundreds of cool blue bicycles just waiting to be rented?
In Uptown Charlotte thanks to the teamwork of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and Charlotte Center City Partners. Developing a public bike system not only increases physical activity, but also encourages the use of more sustainable transportation.
Senior Games Inspire Competitive Spirit
Keeping Communities Active for the Over-50 Crowd
Olympic-Style Fun Across the State
In our proud tradition of promoting healthy communities, we're a leading sponsor of the North Carolina Senior Games. Every year, the Senior Games programs conduct local Olympic-style competitions, leading up to the big event: The State Senior Games. Hundreds of BCBSNC employees volunteer to help make the games a success.
NC Leads US - 60,000 Strong
N.C. Senior Games fosters healthy lifestyles for North Carolinians age 50 or older in a way that involves family, friends and the community and keeps seniors engaged in a "holistic approach to body, mind and spirit staying fit." Over 60,000 people participate in 53 local programs across all 100 counties.1
As Brad Allen, executive director of the North Carolina Senior Games, said, "The North Carolina Senior Games is the largest in the US...and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina plays a great role in [making that happen]."