VIP Focus: Building Healthy Communities

Health, Wellness Program Available for Schools

DashBoard, May 13, 2020

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

The Building Healthy Communities program is a school-based initiative that supports children’s health by providing students, teachers and administrators with tools to create a healthier school environment focused on improving nutrition, increasing physical activity, and addressing mental health and well-being while empowering children to make healthy choices.

The program is offered to schools at no cost through a partnership between Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Michigan Department of Education, Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association, Michigan Fitness Foundation, Michigan State University Extension, United Dairy Industry of Michigan, the University of Michigan, and Wayne State University Center for Health and Community Impact.

With three specific initiatives available for schools to apply for based on the best fit for their building and a proven history of improving the health of Michigan’s children, the Building Healthy Communities program has been embraced by more than 900 schools across the state, helping 395,000+ students develop better habits and live healthier lives.

The three programs under Building Healthy Communities available include:

  • Engaging Elementary Schools Through Partnership
  • Engaging Middle Schools Through Project Healthy Schools
  • Step Up for School Wellness

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, schools across the state are reporting a renewed focus on health and well-being. School leaders are not only implementing their Continuity of Learning and COVID-19 Response Plans to complete the 2019-2020 school year but are also looking forward to the needs of students and staff for fall 2020. Social and emotional supports have been identified as one of the top three needs for schools by MDE. Public health leaders are stressing handwashing as a long-term strategy beyond this pandemic. Physical activity and healthy eating continue to remain key areas of focus to prevent chronic diseases and reduce health care costs.

The Building Healthy Communities: Step Up for School Wellness program is able to address the needs of schools in all of these areas and is currently available for schools to apply through Sept. 30, 2020.

Each school selected to participate in the program can customize resource choices to match their needs and will receive the training, curriculum, equipment, funds and content expert coaches to focus on healthy eating and health education; physical activity and physical education; social and emotional health education for students and staff; and staff wellness. Any public, charter or private nonprofit school in Michigan serving any grade levels, K-12, is eligible to apply for the Building Healthy Communities: Step Up for School Wellness program. For more information and the link to the application website, please visit

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