In an effort to encourage Michigan children to get physically active and develop healthier habits, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is partnering with the Detroit Pistons as the first-ever presenting sponsor of the Mob Squad, the youth hip hop and jazz dance crew that performs at Detroit Pistons’ games at the Palace in Auburn Hills.The sponsorship supports Blue Cross’ ongoing commitment to children’s health and its #MIKidsCan campaign – an initiative focused on encouraging kids to adopt healthy habits early in life that are more likely to be carried into adulthood.

Twenty dancers, ages 7-15, from a cross-section of metro Detroit communities, including Fenton, Sterling Heights, Detroit, Waterford and many more, were recently named to the 2014-2015 Mob Squad.  Dancers were selected based on dance ability, athleticism, personality, self-confidence, enthusiasm and the ability to be a team player – all qualities that embody being a member of a Detroit Pistons Entertainment Team. The Mob Squad will perform during 15 Pistons home games and at halftime alongside some of the biggest stars in music.  The dance crew’s first performance will be Opening Night, The Pistons Premiere, Nov. 1, when the Detroit Pistons take on the Brooklyn Nets.

“Partnering with the Detroit Pistons and these talented Mob Squad dancers enables us to connect with more Michigan youth to help them understand that physical activity, such as dance, can be a lot of fun while building the foundation for a healthier future,” said Andrew Hetzel, vice president for corporate communications at BCBSM.

“The Mob Squad has been a valued member of the Blue Shield of Michigan sponsors Detroit Pistons Mob Squad youth hip hop and jazz dance team or several years and we’re looking forward to experiencing the evolution of their performances this season, as Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan presents the Mob Squad,” said Tim Schuler, vice president, Partnership Development for the Detroit Pistons. “These young dancers bring an incredible energy to the games and we know the fans are going to be seeing some great performances.”

Youth dancers, dance studios and all Michigan kids are invited to join BCBSM in the #MIKidsCan initiative by entering the #MIKidsCan Contest which asks Michigan kids, ages 7 – 14, to share their favorite way to be active to encourage other children to get moving to live healthier lives. Kids can enter the #MiKidsCan Contest by making a two-minute video or submitting a photo and short essay answering the question, “What’s your favorite way to get moving and be active?” Entries must be submitted by October 29 at AHealthierMichigan.org/mikidscan. A winner will be selected in both categories.  The winner of the video portion of the #MIKidsCan Contest will receive an assembly for their school or a meet and greet for their favorite children’s organization with Matthew Stafford. The winner of the photo and essay contest will receive tickets to the Detroit Lions Thanksgiving game and autographed Detroit Lions gear.

With a focus on improving children’s health, over the last 10 years, BCBSM has given more than $6 million in support of kids’ health and wellness initiatives across the state, reaching more than 100,000 children. For more information on BCBSM’s ongoing efforts to help improve childhood health, visit http://www.AHealthierMichigan.org/mikidscan or follow #MIKidsCan on Twitter

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