NEW YORK, Dec. 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- During 2014, ING U.S. is giving schools nationwide a unique opportunity to help students discover a passion for running and living a healthy lifestyle through its ING Run For Something Better School Awards. In partnership with the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD), ING U.S. will provide a minimum of 60 grants of $3,500 each, representing a 40 percent increase from those awarded during the 2013 cycle. The grant process is now open at www.aahperd.org/run.
The ING Run For Something Better School Awards are available for school-based running programs that benefit students in kindergarten through the 8th grade. In order to be considered for a grant, each program must be structured for a minimum of eight weeks and conclude with an organized running event that celebrates the students' achievements. An AAHPERD review board, made up of physical education teachers and administrators, reviews all applications and selects the recipients.
"The ING Run For Something Better School Awards provide teachers with the additional resources they need to get their students motivated and on the road to a healthier lifestyle," said Rhonda Mims, president of the ING U.S. Foundation and head of the ING U.S. Office of Corporate Responsibility. "We recognize that many school systems today are faced with budget pressures and the need to cut programs that can no longer be funded. That's why we're pleased to help educators who are passionate about supporting this important mission, and to increase the size of the grants we're making available in 2014."
In addition to the grants, schools can download unique running lesson plans developed by AAHPERD and based on the National Standards for Physical Education to serve as the foundation of the running program or to supplement an existing school program. Other program materials — such as sample eight-week training plans, distance logs and a running journal — will be available to help in the development of running skills and preparation for a final running event.
"AAHPERD salutes ING Run For Something Better for not only increasing the number of grants but for increasing the amount of the grants as well," said AAHPERD CEO E. Paul Roetert, Ph.D. "More schools across the country will benefit from this generosity by providing children with fun ways to become more physically active before, during and after school. We all know that active kids learn better."
ING Run For Something Better was established in 2003 as a way to give back to local communities. Since its inception, more than 200,000 children have participated in the program, collectively running more than 6 million miles. During the past five years, nearly 300 schools received more than $500,000 to support their youth running and fitness programs.
To learn about the program, including full eligibility requirements and to apply for the grant, visit www.aahperd.org/run. The deadline to apply is May 15, 2014, at 11:59 p.m. ET.
About ING U.S.
ING U.S. (VOYA), which plans to rebrand in the future as Voya Financial, is a premier retirement, investment and insurance company serving the financial needs of approximately 13 million individual and institutional customers in the United States. The company's vision is to be America's Retirement Company and its guiding principle is centered on solving the most daunting financial challenge facing Americans today — retirement readiness. Working directly with clients and through a broad group of financial intermediaries, independent producers, affiliated advisors and dedicated sales specialists, ING U.S. provides a comprehensive portfolio of asset accumulation, asset protection and asset distribution products and services. With a dedicated workforce of approximately 7,000 employees, ING U.S. is grounded in a clear mission to make a secure financial future possible — one person, one family and one institution at a time. For more information, visit http://ing.us.
About the ING Run For Something Better®
ING Run For Something Better® helps fund school-based running programs in an effort to combat childhood obesity before it ever begins. Linked to ING U.S.'s commitment to education, the program helps introduce kids to the benefits of sport, a habit of physical fitness, and a healthy lifestyle. Nationally, ING U.S. has committed over $5 million to fund grants and school-based running programs through ING Run For Something Better. Since 2006, more than $1.7 million has also been raised by individual donors through a special charitable fund to encourage others to support the cause by making their own contributions. For more information, visit www.orangelaces.com.
The vision of AAHPERD is "Healthy People – Physically Educated and Physically Active!" Headquartered in Reston, Va., 25 miles west of Washington, D.C., AAHPERD is the largest organization of professionals involved in physical education, physical activity, dance, school health and sport — all specialties related to achieving an active, healthy lifestyle. Its mission is to advance professional practice and promote research related to health and physical education, physical activity, dance and sport by providing its members with a comprehensive and coordinated array of resources, support and programs to help practitioners improve their skills to further the health and well-being of the American public. For more information, visit www.aahperd.org.