By: Courtney Thomas—
Muncie, IN—Indiana University Health is delivering on its commitment to make Indiana a healthier state. With support from the IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital Foundation, the organization will invest $600,000 in grants that will address critical health issues affecting Hoosier children over the long term.
“We are so honored to help support such deserving initiatives in our community,” said Jeff Bird, MD, president, IU Health East Central Region. “Ball State University’s College of Health and Second Harvest Food Bank are creating new ways for area children to improve personal wellness, succeed in school, build relationships and access their full potential.”
The first grant will provide $250,000 to the Ball State University College of Health to support the Muncie Community Schools (MCS) Child Health, Physical Activity and Nutrition Education Initiative. The project aims to develop and implement in-school physical activity and nutritional education curriculums at the elementary- school level. Developed and implemented by a team of faculty members in the College of Health, along with assistance from graduate and undergraduate students in the college and in coordination with MCS teachers, administrators and support personnel, the program’s activities will offer more physical activity opportunities during the school day, infuse nutrition education into the curriculum and provide healthy living strategies to parents and school personnel in an intentional manner.
“When it comes to physical activity and nutrition, healthy habits begin early in life; developing strategies to address these behaviors in elementary-aged children is crucial,” said Tony Mahon, associate dean, Ball State University College of Health. “This initiative aims to increase physical activity during the school day and infuse nutrition education into the curriculum in age-appropriate ways.”
The project will also partner with the College of Health’s Healthy Lifestyle Center, which provides healthy living strategies to adults in and around Delaware County. These services are portable and can be offered to parents and school personnel in the after-school hours. The center provides guidance and information about physical activity, exercise, eating habits, mental wellness and assistance with social services. These services will play an important role in reinforcing the in-school initiatives with adults who have a direct influence on children.
The second grant will award Second Harvest Food Bank of East Central Indiana with $360,000 over three years. This award will support programs including The Big Idea, Forward S.T.E.P.S. (Support Transforming Empowerment Pathways to Sustainability), Senior Safety Net, 0-5 Initiative, area soup kitchens and general food distribution in Delaware, Blackford and Jay counties. The grant will also allow Second Harvest team members to visit local schools to distribute food, encourage family engagement, promote food-connected relationship building and educate students about careers, wellness and more.
“We are so grateful for this opportunity to bring help for today and hope for tomorrow to the community,” said Tim Kean, president and CEO, Second Harvest Food Bank. “These funds from IU Health Ball will benefit thousands of folks who visit our agency partner food pantries, wait in line at a Tailgate Distribution, or receive emergency supplies through the Senior Safety Net initiative. Along with short term help, funding dollars like these support families who are building new relationships in The Big Idea program or finding a new life path in the Forward S.T.E.P.S.initiative.”
In 2018, IU Health Ball provided over $42 million in total community benefit and served more than 145,000 individuals. Nearly 437 team members devoted thousands of volunteer hours to community projects through employee volunteer programs to help enhance the well-being of Hoosiers. In 2019, the IU Health Foundation announced the creation of its Community Impact Fund, a $1 million investment that will fund a Muncie neighborhood revitalization project.
About Indiana University Health Ball Memorial Hospital
IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital serves as a tertiary referral center and teaching hospital for East Central Indiana and part of Indiana University Health. IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital is accredited by the Joint Commission and maintains 1.2 million square feet of facilities. It is part of an elite group of hospitals with Magnet designation for nursing excellence. More than 17,700 patients are admitted every year and more than 300,000 outpatient procedures are completed annually. Jeff Bird, MD, is President. Learn more at iuhealth.org/ball-memorial.