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Ridgeland Awarded Healthy Heroes Grant

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Ridgeland Police Officers received training through the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation for the Healthy Heroes initiative in Ridgeland. A team of officers will serve as Healthy Heroes at Ann Smith and Highland Elementary Schools, teaching K-5th grade students about healthy eating and fitness. This initiative is funded by a grant from the Foundation. Pictured, from left: Officer Brice Berry, Officer Noell Bass, Officer Scott Young, Blue Cross & Blue Shield Executive Director Sheila Grogan, Officer Ricky Bracey, Officer Daniel Stevens, and Officer Gerald West.

The City of Ridgeland will soon be sending Healthy Heroes, a team of Ridgeland Police Officers trained to conduct health education, into Ann Smith and Highland Elementary Schools. This initiative, the Ridgeland Healthy Heroes, is made possible by a grant from the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation. Ridgeland Healthy Heroes also includes education and encouragement of healthy lifestyles for Ridgeland’s sworn officers.

In a letter dated Aug. 15, 2016, the City of Ridgeland was notified that a grant application for a Ridgeland Healthy Heroes program had been approved by the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation Board of Directors. The grant award for $14,400 will be used to implement a kindergarten through 5th-grade health education program by the City of Ridgeland, utilizing police officers as the instructors and role models.

“When children have positive role models who exercise and choose nutritious foods, it encourages them to follow suit,” said Ridgeland Police Chief John Neal. “Our goal is to enhance the health of Ridgeland’s children, while also encouraging a healthier police force.”

“This is an exciting and unique opportunity for the Ridgeland Police Department to extend their role as community leaders,” said Sheila Grogan, Executive Director of the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation. “Uniformed police officers teaching healthy eating lessons and leading fun fitness activities will encourage children to adopt lifestyles of health and wellness that will carry them beyond their elementary school years.”

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Ridgeland Police Officer Ricky Bracey shows some of the educational materials he will be using for the Ridgeland Healthy Heroes initiative. Uniformed Ridgeland Police Officers will serve as Healthy Heroes at Ann Smith and Highland Elementary Schools, teaching K-5th grade students about healthy eating and fitness. This initiative is funded by a grant from the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation. The Ridgeland Healthy Heroes team also includes Officers Noell Bass, Brice Berry, Daniel Stevens, Gerald West, and Scott Young.

The following Ridgeland Police Officers will represent the City of Ridgeland as Healthy Heroes: Noell Bass, Brice Berry, Ricky Bracey, Daniel Stevens, Gerald West, and Scott Young.

The project will be led by School Resource Officer Scott Young who is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. Nutrition and fitness education will be provided for the Ridgeland Police Department. Officers will be encouraged to get biometric screenings and to improve their scores over time through exercise and nutrition.

Training for the Healthy Heroes was hosted by the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation on August 24. Representatives from the Mississippi Department of Education Office of Healthy Schools provided training as to how to teach healthy eating and exercise lessons to students in grades K-5. Best practices were presented by Sergeant Doug Dickerson with the Laurel Police Department. The City of Laurel, Mississippi created the Healthy Heroes initiative in partnership with the Foundation in 2014 and implemented their program in the Laurel School District.

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Ridgeland Police Officers will be leading fun exercises while serving as Healthy Heroes at Ann Smith and Highland Elementary Schools during the 2016-2017 school year. Ridgeland Healthy Heroes, an initiative to instruct elementary students in fitness and healthy eating, is funded by a grant from the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation. Pictured, from left: Officer Noell Bass, Officer Scott Young, Officer Brice Berry, Officer Daniel Stevens, and Officer Ricky Bracey. Not pictured – Officer Gerald West.

Grant funds will allow the City of Ridgeland to purchase fitness games and equipment and nutrition education materials for Ann Smith and Highland Elementary Schools. A biometric scale and educational materials will be purchased for the Ridgeland Police Department. Funds will also be used to reinvigorate a teaching vegetable garden at Highland Elementary through the expertise of Ridgeland Police Officer Daniel Stevens.

For more information about Ridgeland Healthy Heroes, contact Scott Young at Scott.Young@Ridgelandms.org or by calling 601-856-2121.