PROVIDENCE – Ready to Learn Providence, a school-readiness organization working to close the educational achievement gap, has received a $75,000 grant from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island to fund Let’s Get Moving!, an initiative to help child and family service agencies train and support their staff in enhancing nutrition and exercise programming for children under five.
The funding will be used in a collaborative effort among local child and family service agencies, including partners Children’s Friend and the Providence Community Library, as well as 10 center-based child care programs and three Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) organizations. The collaborators will work together to train and support staff in adopting program enhancements for children that increase physical activity and promote healthy food choices. One of these enhancements is the “I am Moving I am Learning” (IM/IL) program, a research-based initiative developed as a Head Start enhancement program to address childhood obesity. Ready to Learn and its partners estimate that the program will positively benefit more than 1,000 local children.
Ready to Learn is an initiative of The Providence Plan (ProvPlan), founded to improve the economic and social well-being of Providence, its residents, and its neighborhoods.
Funding for the Ready to Learn collaboration is part of the 2014 BlueAngel Community Health Grant Program (BACHG), which supports nonprofit organizations addressing critical health issues in Rhode Island.
“One of the unique benefits of Let’s Get Moving! is that it can be implemented in any child care setting,” said Leslie Gell, director of Ready to Learn Providence. “Our ‘training the trainer’ model, which will help us work closely with area agencies to implement the program, enables us to have a real impact on fighting issues of childhood obesity and improving health outcomes in the community in a lasting way.”