Covington’s Badges and Barbells program, which helps local students connect with first responders while learning new exercises, was awarded a grant from the Multicare Health System to support the program for another year.
“We are very excited to report that MultiCare Health System has awarded a MultiCare Community Partnership Grant in the amount of $4,000 to Badges and Barbells, which operates a program run by our very own Chief McCurdy at Cedar Heights Middle School in Covington,” a press release from the city stated.
Multicare’s mission is “Partnering for a Healing and Healthy Future,” and grant funds focus on building partnerships that contribute to the health and vitality of the community, the press release stated. Multicare collaborated with organizations that are focused on improving the quality of life for all the communities it serves.
“The Badges and Barbells program goal is consistent with the MultiCare mission and aims to connect students with police officers and firefighters in a supportive environment so that they can improve their health while also building positive relationships,” the press release stated. “Grant funds will help send coaches to training, purchase weightlifting equipment and more.”
Covington Police Chief Andrew McCurdy started the program when he worked in Burien. When he became the police chief in Covington he decided to bring the school program with him to the Kent School District.
“The camp is just our summer version of our year-long program,” McCurdy said. “We have a weight lifting club two days a week after school. The idea behind it is to get kids, cops and firefighters together in a neutral environment so we can build relationships. My idea is if we wait until a crisis to get to know the public, it’s going to be wrought with problems. It’s about breaking down stereotypes on both sides.”
The summer camp and after-school club are hosted at Cedar Heights Middle School.