blue bulletin from bcidaho

Foundation grant helps kids heal

Community Transformation Grant gives youth new ways to cope with grief

foundation grant helps kids heal

The Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health recently awarded the City of Twin Falls a $250,000 Community Transformation Grant to create partnerships, programs and projects that help improve access to healthy foods and encourage children to be physically active.

About the Community Transformation Grants

These youth-focused, multiyear grants are unique because the recipients get to decide how grant funds are used, while the Foundation provides funding and expertise. Foundation staff works closely with mayors, city leadership and community organizations to help them reach their goals.

After receiving the grant, leaders from local organizations meet monthly to learn about community health and the unique opportunities in their communities. This helps them better understand their own cities and neighborhoods while finding ways to impact health.

With this insight, the leaders work to develop action plans that focus on creating sustainable change that lasts for generations.

Planting seeds

One of the first projects that the City of Twin Falls funded with the Community Transformation Grant was with nonprofit Because Kids Grieve. The Twin Falls-based group helps children, teens and their families grieve after the death of a loved one. One of the essential things to help children heal is the sense of community that the organization fosters through a variety of activities.

Because Kids Grieve used the funds to create a memorial garden with a paved path with stations that show the six stages of grief. A memorial wall also is planned. The City of Twin Falls also worked with the Because Kids Grieve board of directors to add a community garden to the plan thanks to its its location in a residential neighborhood.

“We wanted to be in a location like this that feels like we’re a part of the community,” said board president Mike Seward. “We want to send a message to anyone who comes here that we are part of the community. This community garden piece will bring people here and make them aware of what we do.”

The University of Idaho Extension in Twin Falls helped build the garden, then offered gardening and nutrition classes at the facility. It was a welcome partnership.

“We could not do anything we are doing without the partnerships,” said Seward, adding that Because Kids Grieve is an all-volunteer organization that doesn’t receive any state or federal funding. “We have a lot of partnerships with community organizations, and now working with the city and the university is helping us create a whole new thing.”

Posted: August 26, 2021