Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE) recently donated $5,000 to Umoⁿhoⁿ Nation Public Schools (UNPS) to supply helmets, knee pads and elbow pads to students enrolled in summer school.
UNPS, located in Macy, Nebraska, started construction in the summer of 2022 on a new recreational complex that includes a pump track, baseball field, lighted walking trail and more. UNPS will give the safety equipment donated by BCBSNE to students who participate in an after-school program that teaches safe biking and skating practices.
Erica Carter, finance manager at UNPS, said the recreation complex provides an opportunity for the entire community to learn about and practice healthier habits.
“There’s not a lot for our students to do in the evening and summers,” Carter said. “Our goal [with building the complex] was to promote a fun and safe place for our residents to enjoy exercise. The Omaha Tribe has a disproportionate rate of obesity, diabetes and heart disease, so seeing families use the complex is a step in the right direction.”
Thurston County, where Macy and the Omaha Tribe are located, has the highest rate of diabetes in the state. Following the success of the new facility, Carter said they’re exploring adult education courses to further encourage healthy eating and exercise habits in Macy.
Kathy Nellor, health transformation leader at BCBSNE, said the company is committed to supporting people along their health journeys.
“Supporting the health and well-being of Nebraskans across the state is part of our DNA as a Nebraska-based company,” Nellor said. “We’re honored to work with UNPS to start healthy habits at a young age.”
Carter said UNPS welcomes community members to check out the new complex. “We’re always excited and eager to have people come visit and show interest in what we’re doing at UNPS,” Carter said. “Giving people the opportunity to interact with our community and youth helps dispel stereotypes they may have.”