Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Detroit Pistons partner to host 200 kids from local organizations as part of the NBA’s “Dream Big” program

Jan. 16, 2014

DETROIT– Four kids from four tremendous metro Detroit organizations will have a taste of what it’s like to have a “dream” come true this Monday, Jan. 20, serving as “ball kids” for the day when the Detroit Pistons take on the L.A. Clippers at the Palace of Auburn Hills. In celebration and honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the Detroit Pistons will host more than 200 kids as part of the NBA’s “Dream Big” program. Kids from the Boys and Girls Club, Detroit PAL, YMCA and the Detroit Branch of the NAACP will be special guests of the two organizations, as they watch the Pistons battle the L.A. Clippers at 1 p.m.

“When children are physically active and eat right, they can accomplish more, whether it’s in the classroom, playing sports or simply being creative,” said Andrew Hetzel, BCBSM vice president for corporate communications. “Healthy lifestyle habits are formed early in life and Blue Cross is committed to making sure kids know the benefits of eating right and exercising. This is a community-wide effort and our partners, Detroit PAL, Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCA and the Detroit Branch NAACP, are helping to reinforce healthy habits with children. We appreciate the Detroit Pistons for celebrating the legacy of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and recognizing this special day to integrate children into the activities, impacting them in positive ways and leaving them with a memory of a lifetime.”

Throughout the course of the game, the four participants will shag basketballs for the team, take a photo with a Pistons player and receive an autographed item prior to tip-off. After the game, all participating youth will take to the court in a free throw shoot around. As their ‘uniform’ for the day, all 200 participants will be outfitted in shirts and backpacks, courtesy of the Blues, containing the NBA “Dream Big” logo. In addition to enjoying an afternoon participating in healthy behaviors, the kids will enjoy a healthy lunch consisting of a sandwich, baked chips, celery/carrots and a bottle of water.

Upon entry to the game, all attendees will receive a “Dream Big” cheer card honoring Dr. King that fans can hold up throughout the event to show their support for his important message. The cards will include facts on Dr. King’s legacy, as well as information about Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s continuing focus on the importance of living a healthy lifestyle from a young age. Kids attending the game will also receive an Andre Drummond growth chart.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is committed to instilling healthy lifestyle behaviors in Michigan’s youth through numerous programs encouraging kids to be active and make healthy choices. Since 2004, the Blues have invested $5.8 million to help get kids healthy and active, all working to prevent childhood obesity. In 2009, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan started an elementary school-based program, called Building Healthy Communities, impacting more than 35,000 children in 83 schools to learn to make healthier choices and be more physically active.

To learn more about Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s efforts to make Michigan healthier, visit

About the partners

Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan is a nonprofit youth development organization serving 18,000 youth annually at 11 Clubs located in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Washtenaw counties. Boys and Girls Clubs represent a safe place where youth ages 6-18 (grades 1-12) can spend their after-school hours and be engaged in supervised, structured activities that keep them out of trouble and on the path toward a successful adulthood. Clubs are open five days a week throughout the year. For more information, please visit

The Detroit Branch NAACP is the nation’s largest NAACP unit across the country. Since its inception in 1912, it has been the premier organization fighting against discrimination in the fields of health, education, economic empowerment, civic engagement and criminal justice. The Detroit Branch NAACP has always made it a priority to invest in the leaders of tomorrow by providing leadership development training and community involvement opportunities to young people today. The Detroit Branch NAACP is home to the largest NAACP Youth Council in the Midwest Region with over 1,200 members. For more information, visit

Detroit PAL is a nonprofit organization positively impacting the lives of nearly 10,000 children each year through athletic, academic and leadership development programs. Detroit PAL empowers the community by training volunteer coaches and by creating safe places for kids to play. Each year, Detroit PAL teaches more than 1,300 caring community members how to be encouraging and effective mentors. Detroit PAL has also renovated numerous parks and recreation centers across the city and intends to have 1,400 kids playing baseball, softball and coach pitch this summer. For more information, visit

The YMCA is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Throughout Metro Detroit, Ys engage more than 300,000 men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the region’s health and well-being and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Anchored in communities throughout Metro Detroit, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise but to deliver lasting personal and social change. For more information, visit

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network are nonprofit corporations and independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more company information, visit and