Play Sharity has received a $21,639 grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico (BCBSNM) through its Healthy Kids, Healthy Families® (HKHF) initiative. Play Sharity’s commitment to help families engage in hands-on learning activities with their children to develop practical life skills and an interest in education aligns with the vision of BCBSNM’s HKHF grant program to help improve the health of children and their families in local communities.
Despite being unable to open their exhibit to the public in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Play Sharity has continued to significantly serve the community through the following:
- Making and distributing 1,600 face masks;
- Distributing 1,458 backpacks filled with daily necessities and school supplies;
- Distributing over 300 books to Luna County, N.M., children;
- Enrolling 30 children in a month-long summer camp;
- Assembling and distributing 2,634 STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) activity kits;
- Delivering 362 holiday gifts in Luna County; and
- Opening the Play Sharity lending library which has over 2,100 educational resources and toys for children.
“We are so excited to work with BCBSNM through this HKHF grant,” said Play Sharity President Kalyn Blazak. “The experience and resources they have brought to our community is immeasurable. We appreciate their support and guidance making Activate Play a successful program to the children in Luna County.”
“We’re proud to give our support to Play Sharity as a Healthy Kids, Healthy Families partner,” said Janice Torrez, BCBSNM president. “Healthy families often begin with access to educational and active play materials, but not all families have the economic means. We are excited that Play Sharity is able to bridge that gap in Luna County and increase opportunities for children to experience play and physical activity with their families.”
Through this grant Play Sharity has been able to add outdoor athletic equipment to their lending library. This includes, bicycles, scooters, helmets, and a variety of sporting equipment. They also created a program called Activate Play. Each month an activity is distributed to community members to participate in with their families. These activities are centered around active movement play outside.
Healthy Kids, Healthy Families is a signature program of BCBSNM. The initiative focuses on engaging children and their families in understanding the importance of nutritious food, raising the level of physical activity, better managing chronic conditions and promoting safe environments. Likewise, Play Sharity through their lending library and Activate Play program works to encourage families to participate in physical activity together.