WellPoint Foundation Impacting Blind and Visually Impaired Teens Nationwide

More Than 20 Agencies Participating in Fitness Challenge

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.--()--The United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) is pleased to announce a second year of the National Fitness Challenge, thanks to a generous $150,000 grant from the WellPoint Foundation. This year, the USABA will partner with more than 20 agencies from across the United States to provide more than 600 blind and visually impaired teenagers with an opportunity to increase their physical fitness levels, as well as live healthier and more active lives.

“We are extremely pleased and excited to partner with the WellPoint Foundation to host a second year of the National Fitness Challenge. With the renewal of this grant, we will be able to reach more teens with the ultimate goal of helping each participating teen become more fit and lose weight by using fun and challenging physical activities,” said Mark Lucas, executive director of the United States Association of Blind Athletes. “In order to keep track of each participant's success, every agency submits baseline data and monthly updates that are used to create achievable fitness and weight loss goals for the teens to help them decrease their body mass index.”

Research has consistently shown that individuals who participate in regular physical activity to improve their health have higher energy levels, a lower risk of health-related diseases, improved psychological health, and lower rates of depression and anxiety. Unfortunately, because of the many barriers and misconceptions about their abilities, approximately 70 percent of the nearly 56,000 children and youth who are blind and visually impaired in the United States do not participate in even a limited physical education curriculum.

“The WellPoint Foundation helps us continue meeting the company’s commitment to helping children and adults live active lives and avoid the health risks associated with sedentary lifestyles and obesity,” said Bill Smith, president and general manager of WellPoint’s Disability and Life business. “We believe no one should be denied the right to enjoy the physical and emotional benefits associated with exercise; therefore, we are very proud to once again partner with the USABA to ensure that vision impairments do not limit the recreational opportunities afforded to teenagers across the country.”

The funds from the WellPoint Foundation grant will provide each agency with sports equipment, as well as fitness and nutrition coaches for teens who participate in the program.

The agencies participating in the USABA-WellPoint Foundation National Fitness Challenge program include:

   

• Braille Institute - Orange County Regional Center

        California

• Braille Institute - San Diego

California

• California School for the Blind

California

• Lions Center for the Blind

California

• Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind

Colorado

• State of Connecticut Board of Education Services for the Blind

Connecticut

• Center for the Visually Impaired

Georgia

• Georgia Blind Athletic Association

Georgia

• Carmel Clay School District

Indiana

• Indiana School for the Blind and the Visually Impaired

Indiana

• Kentucky Association of Blind Athletes

Kentucky

• Delta Gamma Center for Kids with Visual Impairments

Missouri

• Missouri School for the Blind

Missouri

• Association for Vision Rehabilitation and Employment, Inc.

New York

• Lighthouse International

New York

• The New York Institute for Special Education

New York

• VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired

New York

• Cincinnati Association for the Blind and Clovernook Center for the Blind

Ohio

• Cleveland Sight Center

Ohio

• Ohio School for the Blind

Ohio

• Wisconsin School for Visually Handicapped

Wisconsin
 

About United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA)

Since its founding in 1976, USABA, a community-based organization of the United States Olympic Committee, has reached more than 100,000 blind individuals. The organization has emerged as more than just a world-class trainer of blind athletes, it has become a champion of the abilities of Americans who are legally blind. USABA's mission: to enhance the lives of blind and visually impaired people by providing the opportunity for participation in sports and physical activity. For more information go to http://usaba.org/.

About WellPoint Foundation

The WellPoint Foundation is the philanthropic arm of WellPoint, Inc. and through charitable contributions and programs, the Foundation promotes the inherent commitment of WellPoint, Inc. to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that WellPoint, Inc. and its affiliated health plans serve. The Foundation focuses its funding on strategic initiatives that address and provide innovative solutions to health care challenges, as well as promoting the Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets specific disease states and medical conditions. These disease states and medical conditions include: prenatal care in the first trimester, low birth weight babies, cardiac morbidity rates, long term activities that decrease obesity and increase physical activity, diabetes prevalence in adult populations, adult pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations and smoking cessation. The Foundation also coordinates the company’s annual associate giving campaign and provides a 50 percent match of associates’ campaign pledges. To learn more about the WellPoint Foundation, please visit www.wellpointfoundation.org.

Contacts

USABA
Lacey Markle, 719.866.3222
Military_pgm_asst@usaba.org
or
WellPoint
Donna Page, 404.842.8105
donna.page@wellpoint.com

Release Summary

WellPoint Foundation gives a $150,000 grant to the USABA to help more than 600 blind and visually impaired teens increase their physical fitness level & participate in the National Fitness Challenge.

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Contacts

USABA
Lacey Markle, 719.866.3222
Military_pgm_asst@usaba.org
or
WellPoint
Donna Page, 404.842.8105
donna.page@wellpoint.com