Blue Cross of Illinois always helping communities it serves
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois employees volunteered 11,723 hours in 2011 and had record employee participation (648 people) in 570 local fundraisers and volunteer activities.
By linking arms with like-minded local organizations, BCBSIL helped bridge local gaps in health care, education, social services, and cultural affairs in communities they serve.
Illinois Plan President Karen Atwood notes BCBSIL also provided immunizations for kids statewide, health screenings for at-risk kids, helped build playgrounds with physical activity partner KaBOOM!, and taught bicycle safety at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield.
"Social responsibility includes community giving, volunteerism, and wellness," says Atwood. "In such challenging economic times, we recognize our responsibilities to Illinois cities we serve -- and where people actually live, work, and play - is more important than ever."
Unique playground concepts
Two Illinois playgrounds provide special features. In Berwyn, BCBSIL volunteers and KaBOOM! helped construct an "all-abilities" playground in October 2011. With special needs children the focus, the facility has ramps, belted swings, and rubberized, wheelchair friendly surfaces.
In Belvidere, a "loose parts" Imagination Playground opened in February 2012. Kids play with interchangeable elements, leading to a wide array of forms. The pieces consist of large foam blocks, mats, fabrics, crates, and wagons constantly being reconfigured.
Both BCBSIL and KaBOOM! are committed to getting children involved in regular, active play that was once so common but too often gives way now to sedentary pastimes. They learn to play, dream, build, and explore – all at the same time.
Other community efforts involve taking part in summer cultural parades, sponsoring health and wellness forums at local festivals, and providing financial backing for groups like the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, and the March of Dimes March for Babies.
The BSBSIL mascot, Blue Bear, often appears at these events to the delight of children.