Tuesday, March 29, 2016

UnitedHealthcare Health Bee puts students on path to good health

Their fingers on the buzzers, the students were quiet and focused as they began the final round of the 2016 UnitedHealthcare Health Bee at the Westfield Area Y on March 16. With each correct answer, parents, teachers, classmates and even the mayors cheered as their home team got a little bit closer to earning the title of 2016 Health Bee Champions.

Students concentrate as they get ready to buzz in
Parents, teachers, classmates and local officials cheered on the teams
Approximately 50 students participated in the UnitedHealthcare Health Bee, which is a high-energy competition that quizzes students on their knowledge about health, science, fitness and nutrition. In the end, Hillside Avenue School prevailed, taking home the top title and a $1,000 prize from UnitedHealthcare to support health and fitness programs at the school. Deerfield School earned second place and a $500 prize, while Lincoln School took home the school spirit award and a $250 prize.

Hillside Avenue School took home the top prize
This year marked the seventh year that UnitedHealthcare has hosted the Health Bee in partnership with the Westfield Area Y. We began the competition as a way to educate kids about good health at a critical juncture in their development as they begin to make their own choices about what to eat, how often to exercise and how they feel about their bodies. The YMCA incorporated the Health Bee into its 7th Grade Initiative, which teaches students about fitness, nutrition, positive body image and self esteem. Students also receive a complimentary YMCA membership allowing them access to the pool, gym and fitness equipment at the YMCA.

Over the years, the community has rallied to support the annual UnitedHealthcare Health Bee. Not only do the students enjoy the friendly competition, but parents, teachers, siblings and classmates fill the gym to cheer on their teams and celebrate good health. Local public officials, including Mayor Charles Lombardo of Garwood and Mayor Paul Mirabelli of Mountainside, also show up to lend their support to the program.

The high-energy competition brought out students' team spirit
Because of the popularity and success of the competition, UnitedHealthcare has expanded the program to other New Jersey YMCAs. Later this spring, we will host competitions at YMCA branches in Elizabeth, Metuchen and Fanwood/Scotch Plains, New Jersey.

For more information about the UnitedHealthcare Health Bee program contact Mary McElrath-Jones at mary_r_mcelrath-jones@uhc.com.

Friday, March 18, 2016

UnitedHealthcare selected as a “Champion of Good Works”

Commerce and Industry Association of NJ salutes corporate philanthropy


Earlier this week I was proud to accept the “Champion of Good Works” award on behalf of UnitedHealthcare. UnitedHealthcare was named a "Champion of Good Works''  by the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey (CIANJ) at its recent Chairman's Reception saluting the generosity of the business community.

More than 250 business executives attended the gala reception at the Stony Hill Inn in Hackensack. Martin Kafafian, chairman of the CIANJ board of directors, presented trophies to 33 businesses. "For most of these companies their donations, kindness and community outreach are part of their corporate culture -- their mission," said Kafafian, who is also a managing member of the Beattie Padovano law firm in Montvale. "The public at large is often unaware of the magnitude and scope of the good works. This reception is our way of shining a spotlight on "Companies that Care."

UnitedHealthcare was selected for its work with Ride2Recovery, a 501(c)(3) organization, that helps injured veterans improve their health and wellness through individual and group cycling and its signature “UnitedHealthcare Health Bee” program.  UnitedHealthcare partners with NJ area YMCA branches to host UnitedHealthcare Health Bee competitions for 7th grade middle school students.  The Health Bee is a Jeopardy-style quiz competition designed to get middle school students excited about health, fitness and nutrition.  2016 marks the seventh year that UnitedHealthcare has hosted the Health Bee in partnership with the Westfield Area Y. UnitedHealthcare will host three additional Health Bee competitions in partnership with YMCA branches in Elizabeth, Metuchen and Fanwood/Scotch Plains, New Jersey during spring 2016.

The CIANJ is a statewide business advocacy organization based in Paramus. It represents more than 900 member companies from every business sector. The association asked businesses to submit stories of their good works and more than 90 responses were received this year.  A panel of judges, representing executives at non-profit organizations across New Jersey, reviewed all the submissions and selected the champions.

I was honored to have two of my YMCA partners, Mark Elsasser, CEO, Westfield Area Y and Mike Johnson, Director, Gateway Family YMCA in Elizabeth, join me in accepting the award.   It is through relationships like the one we have developed over the years that allows both of our organizations to develop and implement community initiatives, like the UnitedHealthcare Health Bee, that encourages all, young and old, to strive towards better health.

The Westfield Area YMCA and Gateway Family YMCA joined UnitedHealthcare in accepting CIANJ's "Champion of Good Works" Award