Keeping the Ball Rolling to Support Healthy Kids

This year, CQuence Health Group and the Cassling Family Foundation are celebrating the third year of our Healthier Generation Sponsorship with the American Heart Association, which aims to help kids get active and stay healthy.

Just like in adults, increased physical activity in children is associated with an increased life expectancy and decreased risk of many diseases and health issues. Today, about one in three American kids and teens are overweight or obese, nearly triple the rate in 1963.

“Today’s youth are facing increasing rates of obesity, unhealthy eating habits and physical inactivity,” said Kelsey Ridder, the American Heart Association – Omaha’s Corporate Events Director. “With these threats, we may see the first generation of children that will be less healthy and have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. During the COVID-19 crisis, the need is stronger than ever for kids to stay active and play — a benefit to both their mental and physical health.”

As a long-time supporter of the American Heart Association, CQuence Health Group CEO Mike Cassling says the benefits of physical activity reach far beyond preventing health issues.

“With the recent impact of the pandemic, many children don’t have access to summer programs and resources to support the Heart Association’s recommendation of 60 minutes of daily physical activity,” Mike said. “It’s important to provide these resources because lack of physical activity not only impacts children’s health, it also affects self-esteem, social skills and academics.”

Supporting a Healthier Generation

The Healthier Generation Sponsorship includes a sports ball drive for children in need at all three of the American Heart Association – Omaha’s flagship events: Omaha Go Red for Women, The Omaha Heart & Stroke Ball and the Omaha Heart & Stroke Walk. Due to CDC recommendations, this year’s 2020 Greater Omaha Heart & Stroke Walk was held virtually on Saturday, May 30. Heart Walk participants laced-up their shoes and walked 1-3 miles, sharing their photos and selfies on social media using the #HeartWalkNE hashtag.

“Even though I couldn’t see the other participants, I knew I was one of many people walking to support a great cause,” said Jessica Miller, business analyst for Ensocare, a CQuence partner company.

Since people with cardiovascular conditions have a higher risk of COVID-19 complications, the Heart Association said they are working to fast-track scientific projects to look into the implications of COVID-19 in people with these conditions.

“Heart disease affects so many people, and typically it isn’t discovered until it’s too late,” said Lynn Owen, Human Resources Business Partner for CQuence. “Bringing awareness to this disease is very important.”

Lynn and her family participated in the Heart Walk by hiking 2.5 miles at the Fontenelle Forest Nature Center. Her kids especially enjoyed hiking for a cause.

“Heart disease runs in our family,” said Lynn. “My grandmother passed away from a stroke and my father passed away from a heart attack. Knowing the warning signs is critical.”

The Heart Walk is all about a spirit of community, sharing stories, honoring lives lost too soon and celebrating lives saved while working toward a shared goal of raising lifesaving dollars that fund research, move health policies forward and make our communities healthier.

“Supporting the work that the American Heart Association does is extremely important to bring awareness to the disease, provide education and focus on ways to keep individuals healthy,” said Lynn. “It’s a disease that impacts so many Americans.”

Traditionally, event attendees are encouraged to bring a sports ball to donate to children in need in the community. Since this year’s Heart Walk was a virtual event, the Heart Association team and CQuence Health Group worked together to host our first virtual ball drive from June 1 through June 15. Thanks to a group effort, the virtual ball drive received over 125 sports ball donations.

The sports balls will be distributed on July 15, 2020, during The Latino Center of the Midlands’s Grand Re-Opening Celebration. In addition to each child picking out a new sports ball to take home, families will also receive educational material, printed in Spanish and English, with healthy recipes and tips to stay active.

The mission of The Latino Center of the Midlands is to enhance the lives of the Heartland Latino community by supporting the education and development of youth and adults, promoting comprehensive engagement of families in all facets of their lives, and fostering leadership through a variety of services and activities.

Having a Ball

Employees of CQuence, Ensocare and Cassling had a ball purchasing footballs, basketballs, volleyballs, baseballs and soccer balls from an online shop for donations. Our sports ball donations were joined by other Omaha-area employers’ and community members’ contributions.

Companies throughout the community and their employees can donate sports balls at any time to the American Heart Association – Omaha office at 9900 Nicholas Street, Suite 200, Omaha, NE 68114. These sports balls will be given out to schools, community centers and after-school programs.

Thank you to everyone who helped us educate our children and our community about the importance of staying active and being healthy!


Bruce Stec
About Bruce Stec

Bruce Stec is Vice President of Human Resources for CQuence Health Group and its partner companies. Bruce joined CQuence in 2013 with nearly 20 years of human resources management and consulting experience. Bruce graduated from the University of Nebraska at Kearney and has earned both his Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR®) certification and his Society for Human Resource Management Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) certification.

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