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West Side School Receives Needed Improvements From Team8 Tour

7/4/2018, noon | Updated on 7/4/2018, noon
The Team8 Tour is a national campaign that encourages young people across the country to make healthy choices, build character ...
Austin College and Career Academy High School, 231 N. Pine Ave., recently received needed improvements to their weight room, dance studio, locker rooms, and courtyard with the help of student volunteers, volunteers from the local United Healthcare chapter, and the Team8 Tour. Photo Credit: CBS EcoMedia/Eric J. Smith

West Side School Receives Needed Improvements From Team8 Tour

By: Katherine Newman

Austin College and Career Academy High School, 231 N. Pine Ave., recently received needed improvements to their weight room, dance studio, locker rooms, and courtyard with the help of student volunteers, volunteers from the local United Healthcare chapter, and the Team8 Tour.

The Team8 Tour is a national campaign that encourages young people across the country to make healthy choices, build character and learn critical life lessons to inspire them to be catalysts for positive social change. The initiative is led by the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation, UnitedHealthcare, and CBS EcoMedia and will travel to eight cities, including Chicago, across the country to engage volunteers in support of high schools and local community centers.

“We were proud to partner with the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation and CBS EcoMedia as part of our “Do Good. Live Well.” volunteer initiative, which provides much-needed resources to help reduce hunger and obesity in young people. That focus is a direct tie to our mission at UnitedHealthcare to help people live healthier lives,” said Colleen Van Ham, president and CEO of UnitedHealthcare of Illinois.

Like Van Ham said, UnitedHealthcare works to help people live healthier lives and also make the health system work better for everyone by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers.

Volunteers from UnitedHealthcare and Austin College and Career Academy worked together on projects that ultimately will make it easier for students to live healthier and more active lifestyles. The projects included upgrading and organizing fitness spaces and assembling new fitness equipment for those spaces, cleaning up the outdoor garden, and updating the dance studio which will serve as a quiet space for students and faculty to practice meditation, yoga, and Pilates.

“Our volunteers were excited to create a safe, healthy environment for Austin College and Career Academy students by providing more access to fitness opportunities, from painting the dance room to organizing the weight room, and healthier food options, complete with a workshop on healthy eating,” said Van Ham.

Austin College and Career Academy is currently a level two high school requiring intensive support, according to Chicago Public Schools (CPS). Of the 217 students enrolled, CPS reports show that 76.3 percent are chronically truant. The newly upgraded fitness spaces have a potential to not only encourage healthy lifestyles through enhanced athletic programs but also inspire kids to get excited about coming to school with the appeal of fresh fitness spaces.

“Knowing that Austin College and Career Academy serves as a community center for students from early morning until late evening, we were thrilled to hear the reaction from Principal Reynolds that our volunteer effort will help kids feel welcome all the time. The Austin College and Career Academy students and teachers could not have been more appreciative and that was the best part for our UnitedHealthcare team,” said Van Ham.