Staying fit and healthy isn’t just for Instagram influencers who live for their next selfie. It’s even more important for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, whose lives can be enriched and improved through exercise and healthier lifestyles. That’s one of the driving missions of Plano-based My Possibilities, which just received a $40,000 grant to support its life-changing efforts.
The Healthy Kids, Healthy Families grant was awarded by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX), as part of its commitment to community-based organizations supporting children and families who’ve been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
My Possibilities will use the funding to support its Healthy Lifestyles curriculum, integrating health and fitness activities into daily practice for what it affectionately calls HIPsters—Hugely Important People.
“Partners like Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas are essential to furthering our mission and bettering the lives of our HIPsters,” said Michael Thomas, executive director for My Possibilities, in a statement. “This $40,000 grant will help us continue our Healthy Lifestyles curriculum, integrating health and fitness activities into daily practice.”
Thomas said the grant will also support the MP Clinic, making it a resource for information and advice on healthy lifestyle practices, including nutrition and physical activity.
“The nurse will collaborate with our MP in Motion Program and health education class instructors to develop strategies that motivate HIPsters to make healthier food choices and exercise consistently,” Thomas said.
The health and wellness efforts are just part of the My Possibilities mission. The organization also provides academics and online learning, gives students a “real college experience,” hosts events to promote active socialization, and partners with Texas enterprises to put the HIPsters’ talents to fruitful use in the business world.
Adults with disabilities face big wellness challenges
One reason My Possibilities is so concerned with its HIPsters’ health is the challenges they face. They are often marginalized when it comes to health and wellness due to low economic status, the lack of facilities with adaptive equipment, and staff trained to serve them. Transportation barriers can also make it hard to engage with the community. As a result, they are disproportionately affected by high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, heart disease, obesity, and other conditions.
My Possibilities’ HIPster Health Program works to turn the tide for HIPsters and their families by educating and engaging them in programming. The goal: putting them on a healthier path and making every day count.
Supporting ‘meaningful and transformational projects’
“This year’s grant process was especially important given the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Sheena Payne, BCBSTX’s director of Community Investments, in the statement. “So, we’re happy to award these grants that will support and nurture meaningful and transformational projects across Texas. Strategically, it’s also important that we continue to aid community-based organizations that are directly supporting children and families who have been impacted by the health, economic, and social implications of this pandemic.”
The Healthy Kids, Healthy Families program—which centers on nutrition, physical activity, disease prevention, and management and supporting safe environments—has awarded $14 million and impacted the lives of nearly three million children and their families in Texas, BCBSTX says.
Launched in 2011, the program began as a three-year project to improve the health and wellness of at least one million children through community investments. The program was extended and continues to help children and families across Texas.
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