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Meet Denise Held

Anthem Blue Cross

4-H’s partnership with Anthem Blue Cross can best be described as two organizations sharing a common purpose:  to improve the health and vitality of communities across California. 4-H is achieving this through the 4-H Civic Engagement Project Program, a statewide program that builds on the service learning component that has always been an integral part of 4-H. The 4-H Civic Engagement Project Program provides a tangible and meaningful opportunity for companies like Anthem Blue Cross to directly connect with and support these civic engagement projects to help create powerful impacts in the communities where their employees and members live and work.

    The greatest contribution 4-H makes is keeping kids active in healthy, productive projects and teaching them early on that making a difference is a role we all need to play in life. -Denise Held, Anthem Blue Cross

The WellPoint Foundation, the charitable giving arm of Anthem Blue Cross, has generously invested in the California 4-H Civic Engagement Project Program.  Their $10,000 gift directly supports the planning and implementation of 10 youth-led service learning projects that focus on aspects of healthy living, such as nutrition, physical fitness, safety, and social and emotional well-being—values that are important to Anthem Blue Cross and 4-H.  Denise Held, Anthem’s Director of Human Resources, appreciates how the Civic Engagement Project Program aligns with WellPoint’s mission to improve the health of its members:  “The greatest contribution 4-H makes is keeping kids active in healthy, productive projects and teaching them early on that making a difference is a role we all need to play in life.”

Denise identified the most influential factor in Anthem Blue Cross’s choice to invest in the 4-H Civic Engagement Project Program: “Anthem Blue Cross is focused on healthy initiatives.  The way 4-H is structured, it allows young people to influence their peers and others in healthy living attitudes and behaviors.  We believe these messages are often better received coming from those of their own generation.  Having this statewide reach and influence is powerful in helping Anthem Blue Cross champion healthy behaviors for all Californians.”

As a parent volunteer for 11 years with the Briggs 4-H Club in Ventura County, Denise has also seen first-hand how 4-H keeps kids safe and off the streets.  Denise notes that for her 4-H youth, summers are often spent actively working on projects together, developing leadership and camaraderie along the way.  She notes that regardless of their background or family circumstances, 4-H members have the opportunity to meet and interact with kids who develop the same strong core values.  The result, which she attributes directly to the 4-H process, is young people, who are focused on creating positive change for their communities.