Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Buffalo will be in a better position to help students make healthier choices thanks to a $60,000 grant from Fidelis Care, a not for profit, faith based health insurance company. "They have been most generous," said Sister Carol Cimino, SSJ, superintendent of Catholic Schools. "What we're trying to do with this particular grant is to change lifestyles and choices that children make."
The title for this grant is "Healthy Minds, Healthy Lives". Part of the money will be used to expand the amount of hours for TESL instruction at Our Lady of Black Rock School. TESL stands for 'Teaching English as a second language' and Sister Carol points out that, of the 200 students at the school, 74 are recent immigrants. "When children learn English, they bring it home to the family and the family does better with those skills."
Some of the money will be used to develop a standardized anti-bullying program for the schools, according to Sister Carol. "Bullying is becoming more and more prevalent because of cyber opportunities. " The program will be launched with guidance from the new Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention at the University at Buffalo.
The remainder of the grant money will be used to encourage students to have herb or vegetable gardens at their schools or to update physical education programs to address the challenge of a sedentary lifestyle.
"These initiatives are so important," said Jennifer Lyons, Director of Marketing for Fidelis Care, "These programs are so well delivered. We hear year after year the success that comes out of these programs and what it exposes the children to that they may not have had exposure to in other circumstances. It's something that benefits the entire community, right in line with our mission."
Fidelis also provides the funding for the Catholic School social worker program which is administered by Catholic Charities in 14 Catholic Schools. Fidelis Care provides coverage through programs like Medicaid Managed Care, Child Health Plus and Medicare Advantage programs available to seniors and disabled individuals.
Sister Carol can vouch for the practical end result of grants like this in Catholic Schools. "When you see kids doing kitchen chemistry and eight year olds saying 'here's the recipe and here's what we did with the recipe', I mean it's awesome. It's just awesome."