Every day, Matt Sorensen sees the benefits of a St. Luke’s grant program that funds healthy eating and physical activity at the Boys & Girls Club of Western Treasure Valley. Sorensen is the executive director of the club in Ontario, Ore., that serves about 200 kids per day.
At a Community Health Improvement Fund (CHIF) celebration on June 28 in Boise, Sorensen shared the results of the organization’s Triple Play program, which provides nutrition education and opportunities for at-risk youth to participate in team sports.
“Through Triple Play, kids have an opportunity to shine and excel shine and prove to the world that they can do it,” he said.
About 65 people attended the event at Jack’s Urban Meeting Place, where they learned more about the CHIF program, heard inspirational stories from grant recipients and received training in hands-only CPR from the American Heart Association.
In 2017, St. Luke’s awarded about $500,000 in grants to 85 local non-profits.
The grant program seeks to meet priorities identified in the 2016 St. Luke’s Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) and support non-profit partners that help improve the health of people in our communities.
In the grant selection process, organizations were required to focus on priorities identified in CHNAs for Boise/Meridian, Elmore and McCall. The CHNAs are developed using a comprehensive analysis process compiled from quantitative data and interviews with key stakeholders. The 2016 priorities are obesity and diabetes, mental health and suicide prevention, and access to care.
“Working closely with non-profit partners allows St. Luke’s to focus on the CHNA priorities, engage experts in the community and meet the goals of our Strategy 2020 initiative,” said St. Luke’s Community Relations Director Theresa McLeod.
The Girl Scouts of Silver Sage Visions program is also funded by a CHIF grant. Over the past 15 years, the Visions mentoring program has served 5,000 girls.
Local Girl Scouts Chief Executive Officer Pat Pyke read a letter from Miranda Palmer, an elementary school counselor.
“I love that the Visions program reaches any girls who to want to learn and grow, the ones who wouldn’t necessarily be referred to me for social skills but who still need help valuing themselves and navigating an increasingly tricky childhood.
“I love to see the impact of the program throughout the school as the girls treat themselves and others with more respect, and the safety of the playground and the classroom improves as a result,” Palmer wrote in the letter.
Among the other speakers were Kim Deugan, who provided an update about the work of the Caldwell-based Advocates Against Family Violence and Shannon Decker of the Speedy Foundation , which focuses on suicide prevention and mental health first aid training.
Sorensen is hopeful that programs like the Boys & Girls Club’s Triple Play will help build the self-esteem of the kids he works with, and lamented the challenges they face.
“We have a lot of kids struggling with obesity, who do not understand nutrition and don’t get enough physical activity,” he said. “Triple Play is a program about improving the mind, body and spirit. We are trying to help our kids believe that they can succeed.”
Applications for 2018 CHIF grants will be accepted from Aug. 1 to Sept. 30.
Email the CHIF team to learn more.
Amy Stahl formerly worked in the Communications and Marketing department at St. Luke's.