Trustmark’s 2015 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 public and non-profit schools, elementary through high school, to apply now for a 2015 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 41 grants totaling nearly $38,000 to teachers in Lake County for developing innovative health-oriented curriculums, ranging from nutritional cooking programs to new sports ball inventories, and from running clubs to recess activities.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years. 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.

“Schools teach academic subjects to prepare students for the future, but our children’s health, nutrition and physical education is just as important, especially in light of the current state of many young people’s health,” said Kelly Marsh, Trustmark’s Impact Educator Grant program Steering Committee Chair. “Through the Impact Educator Grant program, we hope to support local Lake County schools to help our children learn to make healthier choices throughout their lives.”

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 October 17, 2014. Grants will be awarded December 2014.

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

Speed Teamwork Agility Cooperation Kinesthetic S.T.A.C.K.
“I observed that students of all skill levels stayed continuously engaged and motivated each day of the S.T.A.C.K. unit, which comprised a variety of stacking cups. Even students who have weaknesses with fitness and sport skills excelled with stacking. Speed stacking is used throughout the year for warm-up before relay races and during our Field Day to increase hand-eye coordination, agility, speed and balance.”

Samantha Morton, Physical Education Teacher
Prairieview School
Hainesville, Illinois

For the Health of It
"This winter program met twice a week after school. Girls learned to follow recipes, measure, try new foods, and create their own recipe cards and books. They also learned about proper skin care and practiced in class. We geared this program particularly to female students to help with their self-esteem, growth and greater exposure to healthy eating. Previous to the Impact Grant, we didn't have a program like this.”

Katie Morin, Health Teacher
Zion Central Middle School
Zion, Illinois

Spaulding School Running Club
“Kindergarten, first- and second-grade students voluntarily participated in the running club during morning recess time, and ran as many laps as they chose. Tokens were distributed for a certain number of visits and some students attended 30 times. Students who received top token level received a running club t-shirt. All told, nearly 500 students ran a total of 4,000 miles. This is our first running club which would not have been possible without the help of the Impact Grant.”

Len Wojciechowicz, Physical Education Teacher
Spaulding Elementary School
Gurnee, Illinois

Fitness Fun
“Time devoted to physical education is limited, so various sports balls, monitors and scorekeepers allowed us to structure activities for a large group within a short time frame. Students were able to raise their heart rates while engaging in teamwork with students in other classes. The equipment purchased through the Impact Grant allowed all our students to be more active and keep track of their heart rates.”

Derek Winkelmann, Physical Education Teacher
Diamond Lake Elementary School
Mundelein, Illinois

What's Cookin': Dinner Is More Than a Burger and Fries
“Our sixth- and seventh-grade students kept a nutritional log of all the foods they ate, then collected data from websites to gauge the positive and negative aspects of their choices. Afterward, they used cookbooks and the Internet to research and design a healthy menu for themselves, and spent some class time cooking. Many students had never really reflected on what they ate each day, and made comments in their logs such as, 'Wow, I eat so much candy...I never eat vegetables.' With my resources from the Impact Grant, I can repeat the unit for the next few years.”

Ellen Crahan, Science Teacher
Woodland Middle School
Gurnee, Illinois

About the Trustmark Companies
Trustmark, celebrating 100 years, provides access to a full spectrum of flexible benefit solutions, including benefits administration, payroll-deducted voluntary products, small and mid-size 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 businesses include CoreSource, HealthFitness, Starmark, Trustmark Employer Medical, and Trustmark Voluntary Benefit Solutions. For more information, visit

Cindy Gallaher