The Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation and UnitedHealthcare combined forces Nov. 20 and 21 to create a healthy lifestyle facility at Columbus North International School and Columbus Global Academy in Northland.
Team 8, part of a national tour creating healthy life choices, building character and teaching critical life-lessons, spent the two days refreshing parts of the two schools, both in the former Brookhaven High School, 4077 Karl Road.
UnitedHealthcare provided $75,000 and 50 volunteers to help rebuild a combination health classroom and workout facility shared by both schools, plus rehabbing a nurse's clinic in the cafeteria annex and putting down a fresh coat of paint in the building.
Derick Vickroy, principal of Columbus Global Academy, said the help is appreciated.
"Our is list lengthy of things that need to be done," Vickroy said.
The Cal Rikpen Sr. Foundation, among its many charitable duties, is responsible for coordinating visits to the schools and designing the classroom space with the help of district officials, said Sara Ball, program manager for the office of social responsibility for UnitedHealthcare, based in Minneapolis.
"We've been doing this for almost four years now," Ball said of the company's alliance with the foundation. "This is the first time we've been in Columbus, though. We try to spread it out over eight to 10 cities a year."
The Cap Ripken Sr. Foundation, based in Baltimore, Maryland, was started by sons Billy and Cal Ripken Jr., both of whom played for the Baltimore Orioles. Cal Ripken Jr., a Hall of Fame shortops and third basemen, spent his entire career with the Orioles. Billy Ripken was an infielder for the Orioles, Texas Rangers, Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers.
The foundation is dedicated to helping at-risk young people in the country's most distressed communities by stressing healthy lifestyles, according to information from the company's website.
Team 8 is a tribute to the number Cal Ripken Jr. wore, Ball said.
Part of UnitedHealthcare's mission is to fight childhood obesity, she said.
"We wanted to find an organization that works with youth so we could catch it early," she said.
Rick Dunlop, CEO of UnitedHealthcare's Medicare and retirement health plan for Ohio, Kentucky and Illinois, was one of the volunteers at Columbus North International School and Columbus Global Academy, which are in their first year under the same roof.
Dunlop said half of the company's 4,000 Ohio employees volunteer and they logged about 43,000 hours in 2018. The efforts also pay off in other ways for employees, who feel more positive at work, he said.
"We feel it really does create stronger teams," he said.
Luis Eduardo, an eighth-grader at Columbus Global Academy, is a soccer player but said his school doesn't have a team, so he has to play elsewhere.
Eduardo, who lives on the North Side, said he looks forward to using the new equipment in the health classroom.
"I can go there and train," said Eduardo, 13.