Blue Cross/Blue Shield helps out in Linden

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Blue Cross/Blue Shield company is now not only helping insure Alabama’s educators, but helping to ensure Alabama’s education.

They’re doing so in the form of a series of statewide matching grants, one of which was given Monday to Linden’s George P. Austin Jr. High, in the form of check in the amount of $1,500.

“We want to give something back to the community,” said Blue Cross/Blue Shield Community Relations Representative Melissa Kimbrough, who was on hand to make the grant presentation. “We want to help ensure an education for everyone in Alabama.”

Kimbrough added that Blue Cross/Blue Shield gets a return on their investment in the state’s schools, since it means both their future employees and future clients will be better educated and better prepared.

George P. Austin was connected to the grant program through Kimbrough, who identified the school as one that, because of the high number of students enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program, would be eligible for the grant program.

“We try not to give these funds to schools that are already well-off,” Kimbrough said. “We want the grants to go where they’re needed.”

Because of the matching nature of the grant, however, even after Kimbrough had notified George P. Austin principal Terry Gosa of the program, fund-raising work still had to be done. Gosa connected the program to the school’s annual holiday fruit sale.

“It’s our main fund raiser in the fall,” Gosa said. “We do it each year because we like offering something helpful to the community.”

This year’s fruit sale was successful enough to merit the $1,500 from Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

Gosa said he was thrilled and very appreciative of Blue Cross / Blue Shield’s generosity, and added it would make a big difference for the school.