Natural Outdoor Play Space at Schenectady Jewish Community Center Named Grand Prize Winner of MVP Project Go Contest

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Project receives $2,500 grant and opportunity to host a fundraiser with Olympic Gold Medalist and U.S. Soccer Star Abby Wambach.

Selected from the Top 10 finalists, a Natural Outdoor Play Space at the Schenectady Jewish Community Center (SJCC) was named the grand prize winner of MVP Project Go. The project will be awarded a $2,500 grant and the opportunity to host a fundraiser with Olympic Gold Medalist and U.S. Soccer Star Abby Wambach.

“We are excited that the judges selected the Schenectady Jewish Community Center’s Natural Outdoor Play Space as the winner of Project Go,” said MVP Health Care® President and CEO Denise V. Gonick. “The Schenectady Jewish Community Center has a wonderful track record of making a significant impact on the quality of life in our local communities and developing programs to help build healthier communities. We are proud to have partnered with the Schenectady JCC in the past and are pleased that as the Project Go grand winner, they will continue to create opportunities for the future.”

The SJCC, located in Niskayuna, NY, serves diverse populations of Schenectady, Albany and Saratoga Counties. The construction of the new Natural Outdoor Play Space made possible by the MVP Project Go grant will expand the current roster of services, including the fitness center, fitness classes and family activities.

The Early Childhood Education Department of the SJCC is a play-based program that, at its core, utilizes the act of play to teach science, mathematics, language, socialization and more.

“We are so excited to win this grant!” said Andrea Leighton, SJCC’s Early Childhood Director. “We have been thinking about using this toward our nature-based learning, such as creating tire gardens and other natural structures from recycled materials. This is really the start of something bigger for the children.”

From SJCC’s Project Go entry: “Building a Natural Outdoor Play Space setting that would incorporate music, physics, and sensory stimulation, while encouraging the children to be active and outdoors, would further remove the limitations that are fabricated by customary learning styles. As a community center, we hope to positively influence the broader, and diverse socio-economic, community we service by introducing this style of playground to our region.”

In addition to the SJCC’s Natural Outdoor Play Space, the other Top 10 finalists (in alphabetical order by project name) are: Healthy Parenting = Healthy Families, Lamoille Family Center, Morrisville, VT; Highgate Arena Renovation Project, Missisquoi Amateur Hockey Association, Highgate Center, VT; Keep on Kickin’, Rotterdam Youth Soccer Club, Rotterdam, NY; Medicine for the Homeless, Capital City Rescue Mission, Albany, NY; Monroe Milers, New Life Presbyterian Church, Rochester, NY; Patriot Pink Out: Kickin’ It for the Cure, Broadalbin-Perth Soccer Club, Broadalbin, NY; Playground re-vamp, Morningside Shelter, Brattleboro, VT; Remembrance Park and Garden, Maddie’s Mark Foundation, Guilderland, NY and Winter Training, Albany Rowing Center, Albany, NY

In November, MVP Health Care launched the “post and vote” social media campaign Project Go at More than 100 project entries which ranged from building a playground to planting a community garden, from constructing a nature path to mentoring young people were received from non-profit organizations from throughout New York and Vermont, and nearly 100,000 votes were cast.

Based on schedules, SJCC’s fundraiser event with Abby Wambach will be held later in the year.

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About MVP Health Care
Founded in 1983, MVP Health Care is a community-focused, not-for-profit health insurer serving members in the states of New York and Vermont. Through its operating subsidiaries, MVP Health Care provides fully insured and self-funded employer health benefits plans, dental insurance, and ancillary products such as flexible-spending accounts, to more than 613,000 members, with a regional network of 19,000 health care providers, as well as providing access to a national network of more than 500,000 health care providers. For more information, visit on Facebook at and on Twitter at @MVPHealthCare

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