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Highmark Healthy High 5 Awards $2.3 Million Grant To The Center Safe Schools

Wednesday, August 29, 2007 General News J E 4
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PITTSBURGH, Aug. 28 The Highmark Foundation, through itsHighmark Healthy High 5 initiative, today announced a $2.3 million grant and anew partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Centerfor Safe Schools in an effort to address the issue of bullying.

Studies have shown that 77 percent of students report that they have beenbullied mentally, verbally or physically in school. To help address thisserious issue, Highmark Healthy High 5 will provide this three-year grant tothe Center for Safe Schools to support expansion of the Olweus BullyingPrevention Program and provide further support to schools in institutingbullying prevention programs across the Foundation's 49-county service region.The program, PA CARES (Creating an Atmosphere of Respect and Environment forSuccess), will provide support, resources and materials to 118 schooldistricts across the service region. Additionally, it will supportprofessional development for existing Olweus trainers and provide for newones. The Olweus method has demonstrated significant results in decreasingbullying behaviors.

"The Highmark Foundation believes it is important to support anti-bullyingefforts since bullying is correlated with increased reports of physicalillness in children and adolescents," said Yvonne Cook, president of theHighmark Foundation. "We know that bullying is a serious issue facing ourschools and communities and we are pleased to be partnering with theDepartment of Education through the Center for Safe Schools to reduce theincidence of bullying and improve the overall climate for students."

Through the grant, the Center for Safe Schools will work to provideschool-wide support and help school personnel strengthen their efforts toeliminate bullying behaviors and provide safe learning environments.

"Safety in our schools cannot be an after thought," said Lynn Cromley,director, Center for Schools and Communities, Center for Safe Schools. "It'sindisputably related to academic achievement and a basic need that must be metbefore any learning or teaching can take place."

Bullying Prevention Initiatives

The issue of bullying is one of five components of Highmark Healthy High5, a five-year, $100 million initiative of the Highmark Foundation aimed toreverse the current trends in children's health. Bullying is a serious publichealth issue that affects countless children and adolescents every day. Thegoal of Highmark Healthy High 5, through the support of bullying preventionprograms and initiatives, is to help reduce the incidences of bullying inschools to help children and adolescents lead happier, healthier lives.

The Highmark Foundation is presenting an educational summit as part of theHighmark Healthy High 5 initiative to address the issue of bullying. TheBullying Prevention Institute is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 4 and Friday,Oct. 5, 2007 at Hershey Lodge in Hershey, Pa. The two-day event, planned incollaboration with the Office of Community Health, Conemaugh Health System, isgeared for education professionals to learn bullying prevention solutions. Thesummit features national experts on topics such as cyberbullying andrelational violence. All attendees will receive the tools and resources neededto create or improve bullying prevention efforts at their school. A specialstudent forum will provide a framework for youth committed to working withintheir student body to end bullying.

About Highmark Healthy High 5

Highmark Healthy High 5 is a five-year, $100 million initiative of theHighmark Foundation aimed to reverse the current trends in children's healthand to promote lifelong healthy habits in children throughout the 49 countiesserved by the Highmark Foundation. Highmark Healthy High 5 addresses fivecritical children's health issues, including nutrition, physical activity,self-esteem, grieving and bullying -- through
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