Blue Cross of Idaho donated $1 million to the Treasure Valley Family YMCA for its new Blue Cross of Idaho THRIVE Center in the South Meridian YMCA on Sept. 23.
The 4,000-square-foot Blue Cross of Idaho THRIVE Center — short for Together Helping Reach Inclusive Victories Everyday — will be a safe play space for families with autism and other cognitive and physical differences, according to a release from Blue Cross of Idaho. The center will welcome children and families of all abilities to experience inclusion, practice social skills and enjoy physical activity.
The Blue Cross of Idaho THRIVE Center is slated to open in February 2020.
“As part of our commitment to youth development, it’s an honor to be a part of the Blue Cross of Idaho THRIVE Center,” said David Duro, president and CEO, Treasure Valley Family YMCA, in the release. “We believe in everyone, regardless of ability level. That is why inclusive and adaptive programs exist here at the Y. Every individual deserves the opportunity to grow and thrive. We celebrate a wide variety of abilities and this inspires us all to be better.”
Since the South Meridian YMCA opened in May 2018, it has been overwhelmed with requests from parents, caregivers and other community members to develop programs and spaces to serve diverse abilities, according to the release. Currently, the Y has initiated several specialized programs to serve this population with great response and is excited to grow programming with this new dedicated space. The THRIVE Center will be an environment for children and families feel safe and welcome, build confidence, be active, have fun and feel included.
The Centers for Disease Control reports that one in 59 kids are recognized with autism. Additionally, in the West Ada School District, 10 percent of kids are identified for Special Education according to the release.
“Idaho’s children are our most precious resource, and the Blue Cross of Idaho THRIVE Center is a new approach to the health and wellbeing some children who negotiate the world a little differently,” said Charlene Maher, president and CEO of Blue Cross of Idaho, in the release. “We are committed to the health and wellness of all Idahoans and are looking forward to seeing Treasure Valley families enjoying the THRIVE Center.”