Donation to go to Boys Girls Clubs’ health programs

The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula has received $3,500 from United Healthcare for health programs.

Janet Gray, Sequim Boys and Girls Club resource development director, said the Sequim and Port Angeles clubs have received donations from United Healthcare in the past but this year was a larger amount.

“What they did was free up additional grant money for rural communities,” Gray said. “That’s why we got a little more this year.”

Gray said the donation will fund such programs as Positive Action, SMART Girls and Triple Play. Triple Play, for example, demonstrates how eating right, keeping fit and forming positive relationships creates a healthy lifestyle.

She said a lot of the club’s funding comes from individual or community donations and the opportunity to partner with a larger business that aligns with the club’s mission is a bonus.

“It’s really important to have a diverse income,” Gray said.

United Healthcare gave $40,000 to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Washington which was divided among 18 clubs whose missions aligned with that of the donation’s goals: promoting health and mental health.

In a news release, United Healthcare said the Olympic Peninsula Clubs offer a variety of activities aimed at creating healthy lifestyles, small group mentoring and other locally developed youth initiatives.

“We are so grateful for our partnership with UnitedHealthcare Community Plan. Early engagement and support is crucial to improving outcomes for mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety,” Katya Miltimore, executive director of Boys & Girls Clubs of Washington State, said in the release.

“For many youth, the club is the first place they turn to for support as they experience challenges at home or school,” she said. “This funding enables us to provide a safe environment to educate young people.”

The donation also helped the club provide unique opportunities to promote mental health for club members, such as the anti-bullying assembly held in February that brought activist Gregory Marks and New York Jets Xavier Cooper to speak to club members about treating others with respect and how to respond to uncomfortable situations at the Sequim unit.

United Healthcare partners with Boys & Girls Clubs of Washington and in addition to its annual commitment it also offers Medicaid clients free club memberships of $50.

A membership fee for an Olympic Peninsula club member is $30 and Gray said this extra reimbursement could provide coverage for more memberships.

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