Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, Kansas Association for Youth Alumni Network are partners in grant program

For more information contact:
Kelly Cannon

KANSAS CITY, MO. (May 4, 2018) — Two Kansas City area schools with Kansas Association for Youth (KAY) Clubs are among the recipients of the Be the Spark grants to create or improve places in their communities where teens can be more physically active. The recipients were recently announced at the Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA) in Topeka, Kansas.

The Be the Spark program was created in 2017 as a partnership between Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC), Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas (BCBSKS) and the Kansas Association for Youth Alumni Network (KAYAN). Blue KC provided KAYAN with a $15,000 grant to administer the two-year program. The first phase of the program challenged KAY clubs to use social media tools to raise awareness with their peers regarding the importance of an active lifestyle. The second phase of the program created the opportunity for KAY clubs to apply for mini-grants to create sustainable projects for their peers and future generations.

KAYAN received 26 applications in a rigorous selection process which included submission of letters of intent, surveying student bodies, research and partnering with community organizations.

“We are thrilled with the number of KAY clubs that have seized the opportunity to participate in this exciting adventure,” said Cheryl Gleason, KAY state director and KSHSAA assistant executive director. “The results of their dreams and teamwork will leave a lasting impact on their school and community.”

The KAY clubs selected to receive the mini-grants are Bonner Springs High School in Bonner Springs, Kansas and Prairie Trail Middle School in Olathe, Kansas.

Bonner Springs High School will use its grant to build an 18-hole disc golf course for the high school, Clark Middle School and the community. The course will be used for physical education classes and a new after school disc golf club for students.

Prairie Trail Middle School will use its grant to install water filling stations for students as well as “Hike and Hydrate” challenges that encourage students to log exercise time daily and compete to see who can be the most active.

“The Be the Spark initiative has been full of opportunities for students all across the Kansas City metro, including brainstorming and dreaming big of how they can make a lasting impact on their school and community, writing letters of intent, having meaningful discussions with leaders of their schools and then putting those pieces together into a grant application,” said Katlin Bryan, Be the Spark project coordinator.

“Through the generous grants from Blue KC and the KAYAN board’s organization of these grants, students have been given the opportunity to make a difference by promoting a healthy lifestyle for themselves as well as future generations of Kansas Citians.”

While the awarded KAY clubs brought forth different ideas, they were similar in that all focused on getting their peers moving more. Some clubs will use their grant dollars to improve existing walking trails, sand volleyball courts and tennis courts, while others will purchase equipment to allow for more flexible seating options in classrooms. Other clubs plan to purchase wearable fitness trackers, ping pong tables, stationary bikes with desktops and other fitness equipment to use on school property or along community walking paths.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, the largest not-for-profit health insurer in Missouri and the only not-for-profit commercial health insurer in Kansas City, has been part of the Kansas City community since 1938. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City provides health coverage services to more than one million residents in the greater Kansas City area, including Johnson and Wyandotte counties in Kansas and 30 counties in Northwest Missouri. Our mission: to use our role as the area’s leading health insurer to provide affordable access to health care and to improve the health of our members. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information on the company, visit its website at

About Kansas Association for Youth
The Kansas Association for Youth (KAY) is a character-building, leadership-training, service program directed by the Kansas State High School Activities Association. This nationally acclaimed organization provides students an opportunity to learn to assume their citizenship responsibilities and to enrich their personalities through well-organized programs, projects and parties. Programs educate, inspire and direct members into carefully planned service projects. These projects emphasize four areas of service – school, community, nation and world. KAY is a student association unique to Kansas. The KSHSAA proudly offers this activity to Kansas students, through its member schools, as a means to “make a world of difference” for current and future generations. For more information, visit

About Kansas Association for Youth Alumni Network
The Kansas Association of Youth Alumni Network was founded in 2012 as an opportunity for KAY alumni to connect with one another and continue their support of the KAY organization. The goal and vision of KAYAN is to preserve and maintain the history of the KAY program, utilize personal resources and talent to develop a strong legacy for the program, maintain the pride, spirit and fellowship of the KAY organization, and promote the further growth of clubs as they serve school, community, nation and the world. For more information on KAYAN, visit