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Delta Health Alliance Receives YSA, UnitedHealth Group ‘HEROES’ Grant

Posted on: January 25, 2012

Youth-Led Project Addresses Childhood Obesity, Encourages Healthy Lifestyle in Indianola, MS as Part of Global Youth Service Day

[Indianola, MS] – (January 25, 2012) – Delta Health Alliance (Indianola Promise Community) IPC United Health Hero Project in partnership with the Indianola Public School in Indianola, MS was awarded a $1,000 UnitedHealth HEROES Grant from YSA (Youth Service America) and UnitedHealth Group. UnitedHealth HEROES grants support youth-led service-learning initiatives addressing childhood obesity and healthy lifestyles. To kick off the initiative, IPC Project Director Eligah Johnson and IPC ETO Administrator Shelia Moton attended the IPC Youth # Reality Rewind event at Merritt Junior High School.

One of 282 grants awarded nationwide, IPC United Health Hero Project, the UnitedHealth HEROES project will add a special service-learning project to the spring semester 2012 utilizing a volunteer group of students.  The adolescents will organize into a committee to 1) identify the nature of problem of childhood obesity in Indianola and what factors contribute to the problem locally, 2) work together to plan a solution with logistical support from the community, 3) enact their solution, 4) reflect on the outcomes and 5) demonstrate results and celebrate the successes. The solution will be required to be community-based and not limited to participants in the initiative. The service component will help youth from Indianola take an active role in crafting and implementing solutions that benefit their own communities by providing residents with tangible services. The learning component will involve developing life skills, leadership training and workforce readiness that will help them prepare for future careers. The semester-long initiative will culminate in April during Global Youth Service Day weekend, the world’s largest and longest-running youth-led service campaign.

“These grants were extremely competitive, and IPC United Health Hero Project exemplifies service-learning and the UnitedHealth HEROES program,” said Steve Culbertson, President and CEO of YSA. “Young people in Indianola want to make a difference, and UnitedHealth Group, in conjunction with YSA, offers them resources to make a positive, measurable impact on their community.”  Karen Fox, President and CEO of DHA agrees. “The premise of Indianola Promise Community is providing Indianola youth the tools to realize their promise in becoming a vital part of the community.  This grant will help further the mission of IPC,” says Fox.

In its 24th year, Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) engages millions of young people via partnerships with schools and community and faith-based organizations. Projects and events will occur in more than 100 countries and all 50 states, and will address the most challenging local, national and global issues facing the world including health, literacy, childhood hunger and the environment.

“We believe that children are uniquely positioned to come up with creative ideas to help their peers in the fight against obesity and to encourage healthier living,” said Kate Rubin, UnitedHealth Group vice president of Social Responsibility. “With UnitedHealth HEROES, we are helping young people take action to improve their overall health and quality of life in a way that’s not only educational, but beneficial for their entire community.”

“UnitedHealth HEROES is part of UnitedHealth Group’s overall commitment to help stem the rising tide of obesity, and related chronic health conditions like diabetes,” said Rubin.

For more information about the IPC United Health Hero Project, visit www.deltahealthalliance.org. For more information about Youth Service America and Global Youth Service Day, visit www.YSA.org.

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About Delta Health Alliance: The Indianola Promise Community (IPC) is a community-led initiative unique to the Delta which offers programs that the touch the lives of children in Indianola, Mississippi (Sunflower County) by improving access to quality healthcare, providing programs for early childhood development, education and literacy and addressing the social needs of children as well as their families.  IPC falls under the umbrella of the Delta Health Alliance.  Since 2001, the Delta Health Alliance (DHA) has been changing health care in the Mississippi Delta by improving access to healthcare, providing education for healthier lifestyles, and creating a foundation upon which local residents can build successful lives.

YSA (Youth Service America) improves communities worldwide by increasing the number and the diversity of young people, ages 5-25, serving in substantive roles. Founded in 1986, YSA supports a global culture of engaged youth committed to a lifetime of service, learning, leadership, and achievement. The impact of YSA’s work through service and service-learning is measured in student achievement, workplace readiness, and healthy communities. For more information, visit www.YSA.org.   

UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers.  The company offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than 650,000 physicians and care professionals and 5,000 hospitals nationwide.  UnitedHealthcare serves more than 38 million people and is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company.