Youth Are Invited to “Step into Service”

UnitedHealth HEROES fight to end childhood obesity
[title]

Starting today UnitedHealthcare and YSA are inviting schools and other community-based nonprofit organizations to “Step into Service” by applying for UnitedHealth HEROES grants.

Grants of up to $1,000 will be awarded to youth-led programs that include both an activity element, in which kids count their steps, and a service component that increases awareness, provides direct service, enables advocacy on behalf of a cause, or features youth philanthropy around the issue of childhood obesity. UnitedHealth HEROES grants are available to schools and youth-focused, community-based programs across the country. UnitedHealth HEROES activities will begin on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service (Jan. 21, 2013) and end on Global Youth Service Day (April 26-28, 2013).UnitedHealth HEROES is a wellness initiative designed to encourage young people, working with educators and youth leaders, to create and implement walking, running or hiking programs aimed at helping fight childhood obesity.

To learn more about the UnitedHealth HEROES program and to apply for a grant, visit YSA.org/HEROES. The application deadline is midnight ET on Oct. 15, 2012. Grant recipients will be notified in November. A list of previous grant winners is also available online.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 12 million children in the United States are obese. Healthy habits, including physical activity, can lower the risk of becoming obese and developing diseases related to being overweight.

“When youth help plan and participate in a UnitedHealth HEROES program, they’ll be taking part in positive change, which will affect their well-being while giving back to their communities,” said Kate Rubin, vice president of social responsibility, UnitedHealth Group. “We are excited to see the creative ideas young people come up with to help fight obesity and encourage healthier lifestyles.”

UnitedHealth Group is partnering with YSA (Youth Service America) to launch the fifth year of the UnitedHealth HEROES program. During the first four years of the program, nearly 1,000 UnitedHealth HEROES grants, totaling almost $500,000, have been awarded to groups across the country.

“By partnering with UnitedHealthcare, YSA is mobilizing youth to take action and address childhood obesity, one of the toughest challenges facing their generation,” said Steven A. Culbertson, president and CEO of YSA“At the same time, UnitedHealth HEROES will ‘step into service,’ applying their energy and creativity to improve their communities through service.”