Groups that help refugees, inner city youths, and others in the Rochester area will be able to expand their programs, thanks to awards from Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield.

The company gave $87,000 to non-profits across upstate New York, including eight in the Rochester area.

One of them is Refugees Helping Refugees. Volunteers offer refugees classes in nutrition and cooking, as well as provide health screenings.

They hope to use the $2,800 in new funds to purchase ingredients and supplies for their classes, as well as blood pressure monitors. They say with these services, they aim to reduce the risk of obesity and heart disease in the refugee community.

Other groups in the Rochester area that received awards are:

  • NAMI Rochester: $4,000 to support their peer-led, recovery-focused program for adults who wish to establish and maintain wellness in response to mental health challenges.
  • Huntington Study Group: $4,000 for the Friends with Wheels program, giving Huntington disease patients in the Rochester region transportation to and from clinical appointments and support group meetings.
  • Focus on the Children: $4,000 to purchase new cribs and beds for children who have substandard, unsafe sleeping accommodations in Livingston County.
  • Rochester Childfirst Network: $3,700 for the Healthy Body, Strong Minds program, providing professional developments and supporting materials allowing Family Child Care providers in Monroe County to learn about child nutrition, healthy eating, and physical development.
  • Geneva Reads: $3,000 to distribute books and other reading materials at well child visits for children ages two to four years old at Finger Lakes Community Health in Geneva, and the Finger Lakes Medical Group pediatric practice in Geneva and Penn Yan. Both groups serve low-income and migrant worker populations.
  • Nativity Preparatory Academy: $1,525 to provide inner city students with swim lessons, transportation, swimsuits, and towels.
  • Cobblestone Arts Center: $1,355 for the Day Habilitation Program in Ontario County, offering individuals with disabilities at educational program focused on the arts and healthy lifestyles. The program serves individuals in Monroe, Seneca, Ontario, Wayne, and Livingston counties.