The Children’s Center, a service of Parrish Medical Center, has received
a $100,000 grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Foundation
(BCBSF Foundation). The two-year grant will enable the CATCH (Coordinated
Approach to Child Health) Early Childhood program to be implemented throughout
Brevard County. CATCH Early Childhood is a preschool-based healthy nutrition
and physical activity program that directly addresses the childhood obesity
epidemic by providing an environment where physical activity, health education,
gardening and healthy eating behaviors are valued and taught.
With the support from collaborating partners, Brevard Public Schools and
the Early Learning Coalition of Brevard, the evidence-based program will
promote healthy lifestyle habits in up to 2,500 preschool children and
their families within the two-year project.
The CATCH Early Childhood program was chosen as a part of the overall
wellness plan for the children receiving services at The Children’s
Center as it fits within the vision—to build strong families for
life—as well as the vision of lead agency Parrish Medical Center,
Healing Families— Healing Communities®.
Incorporating healthy habits in the early years is crucial to childhood
development and long-term health and wellness. “Young children learn
through play. This project will integrate healthy behaviors into everyday
routines and activities, both in the preschool environment and at home,
ultimately leading to a healthier community,” states Lori Duester,
Children’s Center manager and project administrator.
Through its Embrace a Healthy Florida childhood obesity initiative, the
BCBSF Foundation is addressing the causes of childhood obesity through
community engagement in six communities across Florida and through grants
to support promising practices and applied research.
“National statistics indicate that childhood obesity has tripled
in the past 30 years. This troubling trend is documented in Florida, too,”
said Susan B. Towler, vice president, BCBSF Foundation. “We are
excited to partner with The Children’s Center to eliminate this
widespread threat to children, families, communities and the healthcare
system,” said Towler.
The Children's Center, an affiliate of Parrish Medical Center and
located at 5650 South Washington Ave. in Titusville, offers a variety
of learning and early development programs for area children. The Children’s
Center consists of six local partner agencies working together to meet
the needs of children of all abilities. The Center annually serves nearly
1,300 children and their families. Visit The Children's Center online at
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Foundation is a separate, philanthropic
affiliate of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida (BCBSF) incorporated
in the state of Florida. The BCBSF Foundation, and its parent, BCBSF,
are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association,
an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. For
more information on the BCBSF Foundation, please visit its Web site at
or for more information on the childhood obesity initiative, visit