Real Men Growing Something Good in Englewood
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois Grant Spreads Health and Strengthens Families
Chicago, IL — Thanks to funding from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois as part of its "Healthy Kids, Healthy Families" initiative, Real Men Charities, Inc. has gotten a jump start on improving the quality of life in Englewood. The Real Men Charities (RMC) program, "Building Healthy Kids and Strengthening Families," is a collaboration with several community organizations and elementary schools. It teaches children ages 6–10 about healthy eating habits through practical demonstrations and firsthand exercises with food production and preparation.
RMC will provide nutrition education and cooking demonstrations in ten participating schools. Community Mental Health Council will provide demonstration facilities. The Beloved Family Community Center will host nutrition workshops for parents. Washburne Culinary Academy (a division of Kennedy King College) will provide tours and workshops for parents interested in careers in the hospitality industry.
Free, healthy meals will be served at workshops; there will be demonstrations of dancing as exercise; and participants will have an opportunity to win family packages of tickets to Real Men Cook on Father's Day. Another highlight of the program will be a walking field trip to the "Eat to Live (E2L)" Urban Farm and the adjacent RMC Urban Garden in Englewood, where neighborhood residents will participate in planning and cultivation over the summer.
"Building Healthy Kids and Strengthening Families allows men to 'rebuild the village' as they work to change behavior, promote healthy eating habits, expose children to fresh foods and instruct them on simple food preparation — all related to reducing obesity, which is a plague in resource challenged communities like Englewood," says Yvette Moyo Gillard, executive director of Real Men Charities, Inc. "Good things grow in Englewood," she says, "and that goes for our children as well as the foods they should be eating."
Dr. Carl Bell, president and CEO of the Community Mental Health Council, sees the collaboration with RMC as "An effective model for addressing social, emotional, and nutritional needs of both children and their parents. This is a program that builds skills, improves family relationships and changes lifestyles."
"At Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL), promoting health and wellness is one of our core business goals, and it drives our community involvement and our community investment. We are proud to support Reach Men Charities and Real Men Cook because their work aligns with our health and wellness mission," says Clarita Santos, Director of Community Health Initiatives, BCBSIL. "Like Real Men Charities, we believe it takes more than a one-time grant or service project to make a lasting difference in the community. We're a long-time supporter of organizations like Real Men that already understand how to best meet the needs of their community. Together Real Men Charities and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois are dedicated to helping Illinois be a healthier place to live, work, and play."
Elementary schools in Englewood interested in being part of the program, which runs from September through December 2012, should call (773) 651-8008 for additional information.
Real Men Charities, Inc.
Real Men Charities, Inc. was founded in 2003 and has become known for its efforts in promoting healthy lifestyles. The organization manages a number of health awareness and prevention programs emphasizing child health, prostate cancer, HIV and diabetes. Real Men Charities, Inc. is the presenting non-profit of Real Men Cook for Charity, the nationally acclaimed Father's Day Celebration, which features Health and Wellness zones.
Community Mental Health Council
For more than 35 years, Community Mental Health Council, Inc. has helped tens of thousands of individuals and families who struggle with the challenges of mental illness. They have conducted groundbreaking research examining the effects of race, culture and ethnicity on behavioral healthcare issues. They provide education and consulting services to the community, professionals, public entities and not-for-profit organizations.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois
With nearly 7 million members, BCBSIL, a Division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company, is the largest health insurance company in Illinois. Started in 1936, BCBSIL is committed to promoting the health and wellness of its members and its communities through accessible, cost-effective, quality health care. BCBSIL is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Health Care Service Corporation funds "Healthy Kids, Healthy Families," a three- year initiative designed to encourage healthy education, promote physical activity, prevent and manage disease, and support safe environments for children. The program works through investments and partnerships with nonprofit organizations that offer sustainable, measurable programs to reach children directly, through schools and other third parties.