BCBSMT awards Rocky Boy Schools with $50,000 HKHF grant

Aug. 18, 2017

Money will help launch youth gardening program, and summer nutrition and hiking program

Rocky Boy Schools – located on the Rocky Boy Indian Reservation near Box Elder – is rurally isolated and tasked with educating a population of children affected by high levels of poverty.


Despite facing those hurdles, its core mission of preparing students to be successful in life is resolute, and a $50,000 Healthy Kids, Healthy Families (HKHF) grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana (BCBSMT) will help Rocky Boy Schools launch a new initiative to provide stability and opportunity for children and their families through gardening, nutrition education and hiking.


“We”re very pleased to receive this grant, and it really was a group effort,” Rocky Boy Schools Superintendent Voyd St. Pierre said. “Several people contributed to this.”


HKHF is a signature program of BCBSMT and part of an ongoing commitment to invest in and partner with nonprofit organizations that offer sustainable, measurable programs to reach children and their families in the five following areas: nutrition, physical activity, disease prevention and management, supporting safe environments, and suicide prevention. Rocky Boy Schools’ plan promises to address all five areas. The $50,000 HKHF grant is one of four BCBSMT awards each year.


“Rocky Boy Schools’ application was one of the best I’ve ever seen,” said John Doran, Divisional Vice President of External Affairs and Chief of Staff at BCBSMT. “Diet and exercise are critically important in a child’s physical, emotional and cultural development. These expanded services will go a long way to fostering an improved way of life for these children and their families.”


Rocky Boy Schools’ core mission is to educate its students to become successful in life by:

  • Demonstrating respect for themselves, for others, and for all things in the environment
  • Being prepared to participate resourcefully and responsibly in a rapidly changing society
  • Recognizing and honoring their traditional heritage
  • Communicating appropriately with others
  • Using cooperative and independent learning strategies
  • Applying problem solving processes
  • Meeting challenges and exploring deliberating choices


Traditionally, Rocky Boy Schools has relied on the free and reduced lunch program and school athletic programs to provide students with stability, and fun and safe activities that promote health and well-being for youth and the community as whole. With money from the Healthy Kids, Healthy Families grant, school officials hope to add another layer to that care through two new objectives that go beyond the traditional options.


The first objective is to introduce a youth gardening program, which will include afterschool gardening and education, garden preparation, indoor seed starters, compost education, completion of a youth gardening curriculum and soil testing. The second objective is to launch a nutrition and hiking program, which will include guest speakers on nutrition, lifestyle, physical activity, mental health and other relevant topics. But that’s not all, as school officials also hope to include weekly healthy recipes, Fitbit summaries, and local and regional hiking trips.


Both programs will serve at least 60 students in grades 3-8, according to Rocky Boy Schools representatives.


Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana (BCBSMT) is a division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company and Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BCBSMT is the largest and longest-standing statewide, customer-owned health insurer and full-service health benefits administrator in Montana. BCBSMT believes that Montana consumers and employers deserve the best of both worlds — access to quality, cost-effective health care and superior customer service from a company that focuses solely on members. BCBSMT has provided high-quality health insurance plans and administrative services to Montanans for nearly 77 years. BCBSMT is committed to ensuring its members — no matter where they are on the health spectrum — achieve maximum health. BCBSMT’s mission is to stand with its members in sickness and in health. BCBSMT’s website is www.bcbsmt.com.