"Aetna is delighted to be part of this valuable program," said Brian Pieninck, Aetna vice president and National Accounts market head for Florida. "Childhood obesity is a significant national health challenge, and it is critical that we reach children at a young age and teach them the importance of making healthy lifestyle choices."
The grant will support EXTREME Health Challenge, an interactive play that uses "kooky" puppet characters and even "kookier" human actors to teach elementary age children how to take great care of their bodies. Through a series of challenges, battles of wit, audience participation, and puppetry mayhem, children laugh and learn about the importance of good nutrition and active lifestyles.
MicheLee Puppets Inc., (www.micheleepuppets.org) an Orlando-based, non-profit touring theatre company, was founded in 1985. "The arts, and specifically theatre, have been used throughout history to teach," said Executive Director Tracey Conner. "MicheLee Puppets has taught more than 1.5 million children how to make positive choices while dealing with difficult situations such as sexual assault, divorce, abuse, racism, disabilities, and bullying. We're thrilled to be able to use this effective art form to improve the health and well being of children in Florida."
The Aetna Foundation is the independent charitable and philanthropic arm of Aetna Inc. Founded in 1972, the Foundation seeks to help build healthy communities by funding initiatives that improve the quality of life where Aetna's employees and customers work and live. Since 1980, the Aetna Foundation has contributed more than $250 million in grants, scholarships and social investments.
Aetna is one of the nation's leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving approximately 37.2 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, and medical management capabilities and health care management services for Medicaid plans. Our customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates. www.aetna.com