|[December 18, 2012]
Aetna Foundation Awards $25,000 Grant to Northern Middlesex YMCA
MIDDLETOWN, Conn. --(Business Wire)--
The Aetna Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Aetna (NYSE: AET),
has awarded a $25,000 grant to the Northern Middlesex YMCA to expand a
youth fitness program to seven Middletown elementary schools.
Led by Y staff, the CATCH Recess program teaches noncompetitive games to
elementary school students during recess at seven of the city's eight
elementary schools. Participating schools are Bielefield, Farm Hill,
Macdonough, Moody, Snow, Spencer and Wesley. The program engages
children in active play for 25 minutes each recess period, leading to
improved cardio-health, fitter bodies, stronger social skills and more
"Thanks to the support from the Aetna Foundation, we have been able to
expand this important health and wellness program from five elementary
schools in Middletown last year to seven schools this year. We now reach
more than 1,000 young people in our community," said Michele Rulnick,
vice president of the Northern Middlesex YMCA. "The CATCH Recess program
is a great way to engage kids who may feel left out of traditional
playground sports and may be at risk of poorer health from a sedentary
Originally developed in the early 1990's at the University of Texas, the
CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health) program is currently being
used in 8,500 schools and after-school programs around the country. The
Northern Middlesex YMCA introduced the program in 2007 as part of the
curriculum at its before- and after-school programs. Four years ago, the
Y launched the program at recess at four Middletown elementary schools.
Encouraging active and healthy lifestyles is asignificant part of the
Aetna Foundation's mission to promote health and wellness.
"We know that regular physical activity can help young people maintain a
healthy weight and reduce their risk of diabetes, heart disease and
other obesity-related illnesses when they are older," said Sharon
Dalton, vice president of the Aetna Foundation and director of regional
grant making. "By offering a wide range of physical activities in a fun
and inclusive way, the Y is teaching healthy habits that can lead to a
lifetime of good health. We are pleased to be able to support the Y in
Middletown school principals are enthusiastic about the constructive
effect CATCH Recess is having on their students.
"CATCH Recess intentionally teaches children that being fit and active
is fun and rewarding," said Jim Gaudreau, principal of Snow School.
"Children are actively engaged, they are learning new skills and setting
goals for themselves and this has a positive impact on their behavior
Jon Romeo, principal at Macdonough School, said, "On CATCH days many
more children are actively engaged in activities. This is most notable
with children who are often sitting on the sidelines when CATCH is not
Parents of students who have participated in CATCH Recess report that
their children have higher fitness levels and an increased understanding
of the connection between physical activity and good health. Students
are rewarded with special t-shirts, ribbons and certificates.
The Aetna Foundation grant supports the CATCH Recess program throughout
the 2012-2013 school year.
Note to Editors: Photos are available upon request
About the Northern Middlesex YMCA
The Northern Middlesex YMCA is for youth development, healthy living,
and social responsibility. The Y provides a wide variety of services and
programs to strengthen the community including childcare, camping,
health and wellness, and youth development. The Y's open doors program,
supported by the United Way and our Annual Community Support Campaign,
assures that YMCA services are made affordable for all members of the
community. For more information regarding the CATCH program or other
YMCA services please contact Michele Rulnick 860-343-6217 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Aetna Foundation
The Aetna Foundation, Inc. is the independent charitable and
philanthropic arm of Aetna Inc.�Since 1980, Aetna and the Aetna
Foundation have contributed $413 million in grants and sponsorships,
including $19.2 million in 2011.�As�a national health foundation,
we�promote wellness, health, and access to high-quality health care for
everyone.�This work is�enhanced by�the time and commitment of Aetna
employees, who have volunteered�more than 2.6 million hours�since 2003.
Aetna's current�giving�is focused on addressing the rising rate of adult
and childhood�obesity in the U.S.; promoting racial and ethnic equity
in�health and health care; and advancing integrated health care. For
more information, visit www.AetnaFoundation.org.
Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/multimedia/home/20121218006203/en/
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