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A significant focus of the Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield mission is working with Arkansas citizens to emphasize wellness and prevention and help create a state of better health in Arkansas. This focus has generated several community-outreach programs.
Arkansas Blue Cross strives to be a positive force in the communities we serve. Besides providing financial support, our employees participate in many fund-raising and health-education activities for local, nonprofit organizations that improve the quality of life for Arkansas citizens.
The purpose of the Enterprise Employees' Committee (EEC) is to promote approved community activities and charitable organizations to make a positive impact on the various communities we serve. The EEC also provides recognition and support to employees during times of need. The EEC consists of 40 representatives chosen by their fellow employees who administer and assist with many company events to include charity drives and quarterly blood drives.
The EEC has helped organizations from Arkansas Children's Hospital to Youth Home to the Dorcas House through fund-raisers, food drives and even races. The EEC helps raise thousands of dollars annually for causes, along with coordinating the donation of countless pounds of non-perishables for food banks as well as items for our men and women in military service, and providing hundreds of volunteer hours.
You will find the cross and shield at many community events and functions, especially those that fight disease and promote good health and wellness. Just two examples are: the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Walk for a Cure and the Komen for the Cure Race. Because more than 25 million Americans suffer from diabetes, including hundreds of thousands of children affected with this lifelong disease, Arkansas Blue Cross raises money each year to support JDRF's mission: to find a cure for diabetes and its complications through the support of research. You also will see hundreds of employees in blue T-shirts among thousands of other supporters for the Komen for the Cure races around the state. It is estimated that one in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime, and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation raises money for research, education, screening and treatment to fight this disease. Our employees enthusiastically help raise money and awareness each year.
The Blue & You Fitness Challenge began as the Arkansas Fitness Challenge in 2004. The idea for the Arkansas Fitness Challenge was rooted during collaboration between the Arkansas Department of Health and Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield while working together on the Arkansas Cardiovascular Task Force. Realizing that better health begins at home, the two entities began working together to create a fun program for helping their employees increase their physical activity, and subsequently, begin to address weight loss and management.
Thus, the first Arkansas Fitness Challenge came into being. The Fitness Challenge is a contest during which employees from opposing teams participate in eligible exercises (cardiovascular focused) for a three-month time period (March through May). Measurements are established and given a point value at the beginning of the contest, then recorded throughout the competition. At the end of the contest, a winning team is named, based on accumulated points. The contest has grown each year and now includes groups (of 10 or more) representing more than 150 large and small companies, banks, schools and universities, physician offices, churches, hospitals and state agencies. Participants exercise along a virtual map through all 50 states “visiting” points of interest along the way.
The Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas is a charitable, 501(c)(3) foundation established and funded by Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield to promote better health in Arkansas. The Foundation awards grants to nonprofit or governmental organizations and programs that positively affect the health of Arkansans. Particular emphasis is given to projects affecting healthcare delivery, healthcare policy and healthcare economics.
Projects must demonstrate strong community, regional or statewide support, such as co-funding by other community, regional or statewide organizations or groups. Projects also should demonstrate operational and financial viability that will survive and continue after funding from the Foundation ends. Visit the Foundation website for current application deadlines, guidelines and the online application. The Foundation offers both a $1,000 mini-grant program and a regular grant program for awards ranging from $5,000 to $150,000.
The Blue & Youth Health Program is a community relations effort designed to improve the health status of our communities — starting with the young people of Arkansas. The Blue & Youth Health Program encourages healthy behaviors by teaching students about choices that can contribute to healthy or unhealthy lifestyles.
BlueAnn Ewe, who serves as our health ambassador, is a 6-foot-tall blue sheep, who appears as a costumed and animated character. In more than 10 years, BlueAnn has become well known around the state, and the program has reached more than 1 million young people with a health message through its core components.
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