This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Independent Health Foundation. Since its launch on September 30, 1992, the Foundation has provided Western New Yorkers with the services, tools, resources and education they need to improve their quality of life. After all, a healthy community benefits everyone who lives in it.
By partnering with countless community centers, schools, parks, businesses and organizations, the Foundation offers a variety of free or low-cost programs and events that reach more than 225,000 individuals in Western New York each year. Among the Foundation’s signature programs and events include:
- First Night Buffalo – Western New York’s largest drug- and alcohol-free New Year’s Eve celebration offers family-friendly activities for all ages, including magicians, jugglers, face painting, wild animals, costumed characters, and more.
- Kids Run – Kids Run encourages families to exercise and stay active together. This year’s event will be held on Saturday, June 4 at 9 a.m. in Delaware Park near Colvin Avenue. Admission is free and everyone is welcome to run or walk the 1.8-mile course. In addition, there will be a mini-dash for children ages 2 through 5. For more information and to register, visit the Kids Run website. Space is limited, so make sure you register by Friday, May 20. Kids Run is sponsored by Wegmans.
- Healthy Options Buffalo – For the past 18 years, the Healthy Options program has been helping people make informed decisions when eating at home and dining out. As part of the program, the Foundation collaborates with local restaurants, food trucks and festivals to provide healthy food choices to the public, while also delivering meal kits to 400 families every year. In addition, healthy recipes, cooking videos, dining tips and other helpful resources are available at the Healthy Options Buffalo website.
- Fitness for Kids Challenge – Introduced in 2008, this elementary school-based program is designed to combat the rising rates of childhood obesity by challenging youngsters to increase their physical activity and make good nutrition choices. The top participating schools and classrooms win grants to purchase fitness equipment or enhance health and wellness programming for their school.
- Good for the Neighborhood – Throughout the year, Good for the Neighborhood brings free health screenings, farmer’s markets, nutrition classes, fitness programs and more to area neighborhoods where access to health care is limited.
- Soccer for Success – Created by the U.S. Soccer Foundation, Soccer for Success uses soccer, along with nutrition education, as a way to engage kids in their health and reduce childhood obesity. Now in its 10th season, the program guides youth away from negative influences by providing them with safe places to play during after-school hours and having them work with dedicated coaches and mentors.
- Growing Up Strong – The goal of the Foundation’s newest program is to connect families, medical providers and social services to close gaps in care and ensure all children have an opportunity to start off on the right path to a healthy future.
You can keep up with all the latest Independent Health Foundation program and event information at its website or on Facebook. All of the Foundation’s efforts are possible thanks to the generous support of Ferguson Electric, Infinit Technology Solutions, Magellan Cares Foundation and Vein Treatment Center.