; Blue Cross And Blue Shield Association And Jefferson Awards Partner To Activate Youth In Community-Based Service Projects
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Press Release

Blue Cross And Blue Shield Association And Jefferson Awards Partner To Activate Youth In Community-Based Service Projects

April 19, 2011

CHICAGO – In partnership with The Jefferson Awards for Public Service, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) today launched the "Youth Service Challenge for Health and Wellness."  The Youth Service Challenge is an online initiative to help young people research ideas for service projects to complete in their local communities and schools.

The Youth Service Challenge is designed to motivate America's youth to develop their own service projects or use suggested project templates to make a meaningful difference in their communities relating to "Promoting Health and Wellness", "Saving the Environment", and "Ending Hunger".  Participants who register and track the success of their service project on the Youth Service Challenge website are eligible for cash prizes, celebrity visits and a trip to Washington, D.C., to receive the "Youth Service Challenge Project of the Year" award at the Jefferson Awards National Ceremonies.

Originally founded on the idea that there should be a 'Nobel Prize' for public service, today the Jefferson Awards recognizes, inspires and activates public service and volunteering in communities, workplaces and schools across America.

"The Blues have a long history of collaborating with national and local organizations on innovative initiatives to improve the health of all Americans," said Scott. P. Serota, BCBSA president and CEO.  "As the official Health and Wellness sponsor of the Youth Service Challenge, we can share project ideas with students looking to make a difference and raise awareness about the importance of leading a healthy and active lifestyle."

The Youth Service Challenge for Health and Wellness website features service project ideas submitted by the following Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies:

  • Anthem Blue Cross
  • Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia
  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation
  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation
  • CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield
  • Empire BlueCross
  • Empire BlueCross and BlueShield
  • Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield

There are several innovative ideas available in the Youth Service Challenge for Health and Wellness section.  The Blues® will continue to add more projects throughout the year.  Currently, youth participants may choose from the following:  Healthy Bake Sale, WalkingWorks®, Community/Public Area Clean Up, Good Health Club Health Fair, Volunteer/Activity Pep Crew, Scavenger Hunt, Old School Fun Fit Day, and All Night Jam.

"We applaud the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and the participating Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies for their commitment to promoting healthy choices and behaviors in young people through fun and effective programs that have the ability to create real change in communities across the country," said Sam Beard, co-founder, Jefferson Awards.  "Through the Youth Service Challenge, our goal is to have 1 million young Americans involved in service projects and with the support of the Blues, we can collectively encourage American's youth to become tomorrow's leaders."

For more information about BCBSA's Health and Wellness projects and the Youth Service Challenge visit http://www.youthservicechallenge.org.

About The Jefferson Awards
The Jefferson Awards was co-founded in 1972 by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, U.S. Senator Robert Taft Jr. and Sam Beard, as the 'Nobel Prize' for public service.  Named for one of America's most influential Founding Fathers, and the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, the Jefferson Awards' central tenet is that each and every citizen shares a responsibility to work towards the betterment of their communities through economic participation, public service, volunteerism, and other such efforts to improve life for all.  Today, the mission of the Jefferson Awards is to recognize, inspire and activate volunteerism and public service in communities, workplaces and schools across America.  As President J.F. Kennedy once said, "One person can make a difference and every person should try" and to date, over fifty thousand individuals of all ages have been recognized by the Jefferson Awards for their efforts to make the world around them a better place.

For more information on The Jefferson Awards, visit www.JeffersonAwards.org.

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 37 independent, community-based and locally-operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for more than 105 million members – one-in-three Americans.  For more information on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit bcbs.com. We encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out The BCBS Blog, for up-to-date information about BCBSA.