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Special Olympics New Mexico Receives Grant From BCBSNM to Build an Empowered Knowledge and Understanding of Health, Wellness and Physical Activity for Athletes and Families

Special Olympics athlete poses with BCBSNM's Blue Bear

Special Olympics New Mexico Athlete Samantha Hughes poses with BCBSNM’s Blue BearSM at the State Summer Games Olympic Village.

ALBUQUERQUE — Special Olympics New Mexico (SONM) announced today that it received a $25,000 grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico’s (BCBSNM) Healthy Kids, Healthy Families® initiative. The grant will support SONM’s Healthy Athletes and Unified Champion Schools programming, which aims to build a knowledge and understanding of health, wellness and physical activity for kids and families that will empower them to embrace and maintain a healthy lifestyle while encouraging others around them to do the same. SONM’s Young Athletes, Unified Champion Schools (UCS) and Health initiatives teach our communities the importance of an active lifestyle from an early age while also creating opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID) to be active in sports in a school setting among their non-disabled peers.

"Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico’s support of Special Olympics New Mexico has been meaningful for the past 20 years," said Executive Director Randy Mascorella, Special Olympics New Mexico. "BCBSNM’s values are deeply aligned with ours, and they have aided in strengthening and expanding our Healthy Athletes and Unified Champion Schools initiatives. We look to BCBSNM not only for financial support, but we can also count on them for quality, key leadership and volunteer support across multiple roles within our organization. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico’s commitment to excellence, respect, integrity and caring offers our athletes and families hope for a better quality of life."

BCBSNM’s HKHF initiative allows Special Olympics New Mexico to continue its inclusive health and wellness programming statewide. SONM’s Health programming works to improve access to quality health care for people with ID through Healthy Athletes® screenings and health education, both at SONM’s statewide competition in Albuquerque and Las Cruces as well as online and virtually. People with ID have five times higher risk for diabetes and two times higher risk to develop heart disease; SONM’s initiatives help to encourage physical activity, which has been proven to combat these conditions. Additionally, funds from the HKHF grant will continue to support SONM’s Unified Champion Schools programs throughout the state. As of 2022, the Unified Champion Schools program, which empowers educators and students to promote social inclusion through intentionally planned and implemented activities, is active in 38 schools across New Mexico.

"At Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico, we’re grateful for the many ways that Special Olympics New Mexico works to improve the health and wellness of our communities statewide," said Janice Torrez, BCBSNM president. "We’ve seen firsthand how children and families benefit from Special Olympics New Mexico’s physical activities, health screenings and education. These efforts promote healthy lifestyles, increase access to care, encourage disease prevention and support health equity — all of which are priorities in our community investments and partnerships."

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About Special Olympics New Mexico
Special Olympics New Mexico works towards building inclusive communities, transforming lives through sport, and improving the quality of life for people with intellectual disabilities (ID). Through programs in sports, health, education and leadership, Special Olympics is creating a world where each person is included, respected, and celebrated for their abilities.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico is one of the largest commercial health insurers in New Mexico with more than 680,000 New Mexicans carrying a Blue Cross and Blue Shield card. Since 1940, BCBSNM has been committed to promoting the health and wellness of its members and communities through accessible, cost-effective, quality health care. BCBSNM is a Division of Health Care Service Corporation, the country’s largest customer-owned health insurer. Health Care Service Corporation is a Mutual Legal Reserve Company and an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

Media Contact

Laurie Volkin
Laurie_Volkin@bcbsnm.com
505-816-2041



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