Area non-profits receive Excellus BlueCross BlueShield awards


Twelve non-profit organizations in the Utica/Rome/North Country region have been chosen from among more than 40 applications to receive Excellus BlueCross BlueShield’s Fall 2017 Community Health Awards.

Each award recipient will receive up to $4,000 of the $36,000 allocated by the company to help fund health and wellness programs in its 14-county Utica/Rome/North Country region. 

Through a competitive application process, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield’s Community Health Awards support programs that have clear goals to improve the health or health care of a specific population.

Six local non-profit organizations that were selected to receive Community Health Awards are:

• Humane Society of Rome, Inc.: Pet Therapy, providing pet therapy for the community and local nursing homes on a monthly basis. Pet therapy is a guided interaction between a person and a shelter animal with the goal of improving a resident’s social, emotional and cognitive functioning.

Interacting with a pet can help many physical and mental issues. It can help reduce blood pressure and improve overall cardiovascular health. It can also release endorphins that produce a calming effect. This can help alleviate pain, reduce stress, and improve one’s overall psychological state.

• The Kelberman Center (Utica) Off the Couch & Outside the Box Wellness Series, designed to get kids and young adults with autism “off the couch” and thinking “outside the box” about physical activity and nutrition.

The year-long series will include four physical and social activities, one healthy cooking class, and one wellness class, all moderated by Kelberman Center staff experienced in supporting social skills development.

• Utica Zoological Society: Utica Zoo Snowshoe Program — Snowshoe replacement and repair for the Utica Zoo snowshoe program.

• Central Association for the Blind, Inc. (Utica): Camp Abilities in Motion works individually with children who experience vision loss, age 10 and under, to help them understand proper body mechanics and to reinforce physical skills. In order to provide opportunities for repetition, newly acquired movements will be incorporated into fun games and activities. Educational sessions will incorporate the use of family fitness kits containing a variety of sports equipment and instructional materials to continue motor development beyond the sessions.

• Rescue Mission of Utica, Inc.: Addictions Stabilization Center program — support for the center’s program with the purchase of a CARESCAPE V100-4 Patient Monitor – BP Temp & Pulse OX; CARESCAPE Rolling Stand and Ivac/Alaris Oral Probe Covers for CARESCAPE Monitors will be used by every resident in the ASC program.

• The House of the Good Shepherd (Utica) Yoga and Exercise Classes for Children: Providing yoga and meditation classes, and Zumba and Pound aerobic classes to the children at The House of the Good Shepherd. Licensed instructors will work in conjunction with the nursing and recreation staff to coordinate and begin classes in January.

“The company’s Community Health Awards demonstrate a corporate commitment to support local organizations that share our mission as a non-profit health plan,” said Eve Van de Wal, regional president of Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. “These awards complement our existing grants and sponsorships with agencies that work to enhance quality of life, including health status, in upstate New York.”

In the 80 years that Excellus BlueCross BlueShield has been serving residents of upstate New York, the company has supported hundreds of programs that are aimed at improving the health status of area residents.

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield’s Utica/Rome/North Country region encompasses Oneida, Clinton, Delaware, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Montgomery, Otsego and St. Lawrence counties.


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