Trustmark’s 2014 Impact Educator Grant Program Helps Lake County Schools Promote Healthy Lifestyles for Children


LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Schools throughout Lake County are eligible to receive grants of up to $1,000 for innovative education programs that promote health and healthy decision-making. Trustmark, the Lake-Forest-based health and life insurer, benefits administrator, and health and fitness management company urges educators in Lake County schools elementary through high school to apply now for a 2014 Impact Educator Grant of up to $1,000. 

Impact Educator Grants are awarded to teachers for creating programs that encourage children to make healthy lifestyle decisions. Last year, Trustmark awarded 56 grants totaling more than $50,000 to teachers in Lake County for developing innovative health-oriented curriculums, ranging from outdoor vegetable gardens to special needs physical education, and from human anatomy to recess activities.

 According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 17 percent of children are obese, bearing a medical cost of more than $3 billion dollars annually. And teenage cigarette smokers make up one out of every four high school students, with one-third of those smokers expected to die prematurely of tobacco-related disease, according to the New York Times. 

“With focus on academics, our children’s health, nutrition and physical education resources are often downsized in the schools,” said Kelly Marsh, Trustmark’s Impact Educator Grant program Steering Committee Chair. “Through the Impact Educator Grant program, we hope to continue to support local Lake County schools in helping our children make healthier behavior choices that can follow them through adulthood.”

Lake County Teachers Can Apply Now
Trustmark invites teachers and principals who educate in public or not-for-profit elementary, middle or high schools in Lake County, Ill., to apply for an Impact Educator Grant. Teachers can use a quick online application to apply by visiting 

All proposals must be received by November 1, 2013. Grants will be awarded December 2013.

The following are samples of creative school programs funded last year through the Impact Educator Grant Program:

Analyzing the Sugar Content in Beverages and Snacks
“My fourth grade class first researched various snacks and beverages, then purchased them to analyze. We found out which were the best – offering the lowest amount of sugar but still high in vitamins.  Over the course of two weeks, the students took pictures and created books with their data results. These were shared with all the other grades to help them make healthy choices.” 
Karen Kos, Gifted Education Specialist
Tripp Elementary School
Buffalo Grove, Illinois 

Movin’ and Shakin’ in Adaptive PE
“For special needs children, grades six through eight, we did numerous ball activities to develop hand-eye and foot-eye coordination. The physio and spring balls, in particular, helped give kids a cardiovascular workout. The classes were able to feel part of the physical education program because they had equipment specific to their needs. Thank you very much for helping to make a positive difference in the lives of my students!”
Stephanie Betthauser, Physical Education teacher
Jefferson Middle School
Waukegan, Illinois 

Happy, Healthy, Lunchtime Fun
“Over the years, indoor recess has lent itself to sedentary play for a whole variety of reasons. Instead, Sport Stacking is a sport that not only develops important physical skills, such as hand-eye coordination, quickness and focus, but also promotes self-confidence, teamwork and good sportsmanship. Our second- through fifth-grade students were excited about having Sports Stacks at school. A recent university study has proven it improves reaction time by up to 30 percent!”
Diane Stanchuk, Physical Development and Health teacher
Wauconda Grade School
Wauconda, Illinois

Homegrown Education
“For the past two years, fifth- through eighth-grade students, teachers and community members have been involved in the school garden. Students learned to grow food and cook healthy meals. We made beets last Halloween and fresh salsa many times. This year, seeds, plants and a greenhouse were purchased through the Impact Educator Grant. From August through October, we have fresh vegetables every day at lunch from our garden!”
Irina Stan, Science teacher
North Prairie Junior High School
Winthrop Harbor, Illinois

Brains “R” Us
“We read books and magazines about the brain, explored brain models and kept accurate journals on what we did during our fourth- and fifth-grade language arts periods. The grant money helped students become aware of the power of the brain and its functions, with their pre- and post-tests on the topic improving greatly.”
Linda Hankey, Language Arts teacher
Wauconda Grade School
Wauconda, Illinois

About the Trustmark Companies
Trustmark celebrates its centennial year in 2013. Through its subsidiaries and operating divisions, Trustmark provides access to a full spectrum of flexible benefit solutions, including benefits administration, payroll-deducted voluntary products, group medical benefits, and health and fitness management programs. The success of each Trustmark company is based on building and maintaining trust through personal, responsive service and flexible benefit solutions. Trustmark subsidiaries and operating divisions include CoreSource, HealthFitness, Starmark, Trustmark Employer Medical, and Trustmark Voluntary Benefit Solutions. For more information, visit

Cindy Gallaher