Danville, Va.- March 22, 2006 - Sixty girls, ages 12 to 14, will participate in a Spring basketball league and health education program sponsored by Optima Family Care, a Medicaid HMO product of Sentara Health Plans, Inc. A total of five teams representing the Southside Virginia Region will participate in the eight-week basketball program.
The Optima Family Care Spring Girls Basketball League season kick-off event is scheduled for this Saturday, March 25, from 9 a.m. to noon. at Halifax County High School, Highway 129, High School Circle, South Boston. The girls will spend the day involved in basketball clinics as well as completing pre-season surveys for health education sessions, musical entertainment, food and fun.
"We are excited because this program is focused on bringing health and prevention information directly to young people in their own community," said Sylvia Whitaker, Optima Family Care sales and community outreach manager.
Eight years ago, the program began with seven teams in Hampton Roads in an effort to educate at-risk girls about key health and wellness issues while providing them wholesome competition and character-building opportunities. Since its inception, a Fall league has been added in both Hampton Roads and Central Virginia with seven cities represented from each area. More than 2,300 girls have participated. Optima Family Care is now adding a Spring League in the Southside Virginia area.
Area organizations have joined Optima Family Care to support the league including: Danville Parks and Recreation, Danville Boy's and Girls Clubs, Chatham County Athletic Association, South Boston Parks and Recreation, Pittsylvania County Parks and Recreation., and the Danville School Health District.
On April 1, the first match of the eight-week season will be held. Before each game, the girls attend a mandatory health education session taught by a nurse, covering topics such as dental hygiene, asthma, heart disease, diabetes and healthy eating habits. The season concludes in late May with a single elimination championship round.
Optima Family Care provides each player with a league uniform, award, and team photograph with her coach as well as game officials, a Parents Night Out, and event sponsorship, which includes staffing, exhibits, promotional items, and health education literature for the entire community.
Optima has long embraced its responsibility to take an active role in making the communities we serve healthier places, said Chief Executive Officer, Michael Dudley. Optima Family Cares Regional Fall Girls Basketball League is an innovative program that is making a difference in the lives of young people through our state.
Girls ages 12 to 14 living in the participating communities are eligible to play in the league.
For a game schedule, call Optima Family Care at (757) 552.7236 or Danville Parks and Recreation at (434) 799-5200.