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Boys & Girls Clubs in New Jersey and The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey Help Families Breathe Easy with BEAM Asthma Awareness Program

04:09 EDT 8 Aug 2017 | PR Newswire

MONTCLAIR, N.J., Aug. 8, 2017 /PRNewswire/ --Today, students from across the state will enjoy a day that delivers a breath of fresh air and highlights the importance of asthma awareness. The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey in collaboration with the Boys & Girls Clubs in New Jersey, will provide fun and informative activities to celebrate the success of the third year of the Breathe Easier with Asthma Management (BEAM) program. As the leading cause of school absences, asthma affects more than 7 million children in the U.S and close to 200,000 children in New Jersey. BEAM aims to improve the health and quality of life for children already suffering from asthma, teach kids without asthma about the disorder, increase awareness of the disease and offers effective management tips. Through BEAM, kids and their parents or caregivers are provided with education to prevent future health issues and costs associated with asthma.

Only 56% of the state's children ages 5 - 12, diagnosed with asthma, have a treatment plan. And even worse, the same percentage of youth who are utilizing quick relief medications are not using them properly. New Jersey hospitals report nearly 19% of kids ages 5 - 12 with current asthma had an asthma related emergency room visit in the past year. The numbers are only slightly better for the state's teens ages 13 – 17, with sixty percent of the state's teens with asthma having a treatment plan. In addition, only 53% use their quick relief medication correctly.

Today's event will feature a passport program where BEAM students earn stamps for completing a series of fun and educational activities that reinforce what they learned in the curriculum. Students from across the state will participate in:

  • A cooking demonstration led by former Boys & Girls Club of Newark alumni, Ameer Natson. The celebrity chef and TV personality will lead an interactive cooking demonstration that focuses on healthy food choices and recipes children can make on their own and that combat the symptoms of asthma and reduce inflammation.
  • Exercises demonstrating the effect of healthy breath will be highlighted using straws of different sizes to blow pom poms, as well as relay and three-legged races.
  • Arts and crafts projects, like "make your own mucus" and "bronchial binoculars" will reinforce the physical symptoms associated with asthma and tap into the popular Instagram slime trend.

"The Horizon Foundation created its signature program, BEAM, to improve the quality of life of children with asthma and those who may acquire asthma," said Joan K. Hollendonner, Senior Program Officer, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey.  "We are proud of the success of the program.  Based on the consistently positive evaluation results for Phase 2, the Foundation invested another $600,000 to continue the program, bringing our total investment to $1.7 million."

Now in its third year, the BEAM program has expanded since its inception to reach nearly 8,000 New Jersey children ages 5 – 18 years. This academic year alone, the hands-on educational asthma awareness program has reached 2,800 children at 20 Boys & Girls Clubs at 57 different locations in 14 counties across the state.

The evaluation results of the program were consistently strong, demonstrating a substantial and sustained increase of participant knowledge about asthma and its management, and that the program is engaging and enjoyable.

"Breath affects every aspect of life, and for children, this vital function informs their ability to grow and learn," said Susan Haspel, Boys & Girls Clubs in New Jersey, State Director. "By helping families identify whether the child has asthma or helping them manage a diagnosed condition, our children can thrive. We are committed to enabling New Jersey children to reach their full potential in all areas."

About BEAMBreathe Easier with Asthma Management (BEAM) was created by the Horizon Foundation for New Jersey to raise awareness about asthma. It aims to educate children and their parents or caregivers about the disorder and how best to manage it. Boys & Girls Clubs in New Jersey was selected as the state program office and oversees the daily operations of the initiative. The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey has invested $1.7M in the program since its inception in 2014.

About The Horizon Foundation for New JerseyThe Horizon Foundation for New Jersey is committed to working alongside those who can help us improve our neighbors' health, inform their health decisions and inspire them to lead healthier, more fulfilling lives. The Foundation's funding pillars are Caring, Connecting and Creating. Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey is the sole member of the Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, both of which are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.  For more information, please visit http://www.Community.HorizonBlue.com.

About Boys & Girls Clubs in New JerseyBoys & Girls Clubs in New Jersey is an alliance of 23 Club organizations serving over 70,000 youth ages 5 - 18 in more than 65 communities throughout the Garden State. Clubs seek to inspire and enable young people from all backgrounds, especially those who need them most, to achieve their full potential as productive adults and responsible citizens. More information about Boys & Girls Clubs in New Jersey is available at http://www.bgcnj.org.

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SOURCE Boys & Girls Clubs in New Jersey

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