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Girl Scouts of Connecticut Receives $25,000 Grant from Aetna Foundation to Improve Girls’ Health in Asylum Hill

June 26, 2014

Girl Scouts of Connecticut has received a $25,000 grant from the Aetna Foundation to launch a pilot of its Live Healthy, Lead Healthy in Hartford’s Asylum Hill neighborhood.  The eight-week health and well-being program aims to help girls ages 5 -12 learn the lifelong benefits of fitness, good nutrition and stress reduction. The nonprofit organization hopes to reach about 75 girls when the program is introduced in September.

“We are grateful to the Aetna Foundation for providing us with funds to expand our Live Healthy, Lead Healthy signature initiative,” said Mary Barneby, CEO, Girl Scouts of Connecticut. “Girls today are still struggling with issues like obesity and even more critical, their emotional health. It’s important to help build a girl’s awareness of self-image and sense of self while educating her about healthy life choices. With this program, our girls will learn ways to impact their health in a positive way for the future.”

To reach Asylum Hill girls who may be unfamiliar with scouting, Girl Scouts of Connecticut will collaborate with local schools and community organizations to offer the program’s events and activities, including West Middle School (K-5), Catholic Charities Asylum Hill Family Center, ConnectiKids, Asylum Hill Congregational Church, Women's League Child Development Center, and Trinity Episcopal Church, among others. The program includes community service projects where participating girls can apply what they have learned about healthy living to enhance their communities.

“Community-based programs can have a powerful impact in changing people’s health and their lives, family by family and neighborhood by neighborhood,” said Garth Graham, M.D., M.P.H., president of the Aetna Foundation. “We are pleased to support Girl Scouts of Connecticut’s Live Healthy, Lead Healthy programs that are making a difference in the lives of children from Hartford’s underserved communities.”

Girl Scouts of Connecticut’s Live Healthy, Lead Healthy signature initiative offers a holistic approach to health for Connecticut girls. The initiative educates girls between the ages of 5 and 17 about childhood obesity and the benefits of physical activity, healthy eating and stress reduction. Through a variety of activities, girls are given tools to make positive choices that can impact their future health, while building their self-esteem with support of friends and family.

Promoting healthy eating and active living is one of the Aetna Foundation’s three program areas. Last year, the Aetna Foundation awarded nearly $3.5 million to community-based programs across the United States aimed at improving nutrition and increasing physical activity in underserved communities.  

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