Breathe Easier with Asthma Management: BEAM was created by The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey to raise awareness about asthma and to educate children and their parents or caregivers about the disorder and how best to manage it. BGCNJ was selected as the state program office and oversees the day-to-day operations of the initiative. The Foundation has invested $1.7M in the program since its inception in 2014.
For the first two phases of BEAM, The Foundation awarded grants totaling $1.1M to the BGCNJ. The program has impacted over 5,000 youth, ages 5-18 years, at 16 Boys & Girls Clubs at 40 locations in 12 counties.
Given the success of the program, The Foundation invested an additional $600,000 in 2016 to implement Phase 3 and expand the program to serve another 2,800 youth at 20 Boys & Girls Clubs at 50 locations in 14 counties by 2018.
Why was BEAM created?
Research conducted by the Foundation, including commissioning a research paper and conducting interviews with 23 experts, indicated that asthma warrants greater attention given its burden on individuals, families and society. Because asthma attacks can be prevented and managed, the Foundation believes it can make a positive impact through the BEAM program in reducing asthma’s burden by:
- improving the quality of life for asthma sufferers and their families
- increasing awareness of the disease and its management and
- helping to control unnecessary health care costs, as most hospitalizations and Emergency Room visits for asthma can be avoided through better asthma management.
How BEAM works
A questionnaire is administered to parents to determine if a child may have asthma.
Boys & Girls Club staff are trained by the American Lung Association in New Jersey (ALANJ) to deliver age-appropriate, interactive curricula about asthma and its management. One curriculum was developed by the ALANJ for children with asthma and another, developed by the ALANJ for BEAM, is for non-asthmatic children.
Parents are provided with information on how to locate a doctor for further screening or treatment, regardless of income or insurance status.
Awareness about asthma and its management is increased among program participants and the general public through parent nights, public events, signage and media activities.
An independent evaluation showed that the results of the program were consistently strong, demonstrating a substantial and sustained increase of participant knowledge about asthma and its management, and that the program is engaging and enjoyable.
- Atlantic County: Boys & Girls Clubs of Atlantic City, Atlantic City
- Bergen County: Boys & Girls Clubs of Garfield, Garfield
- Bergen County: Boys & Girls Clubs of Lodi/Hackensack, Lodi & Hackensack
- Burlington County: Joint Base McGuire, Dix, Lakehurst
- Camden County: Boys & Girls Club of Camden County, Camden
- Cumberland County: Boys & Girls Club of Vineland, Vineland
- Essex: Ironbound Community Corporation, Ironbound, Newark
- Essex County: The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club of Newark Ironbound, Newark
- Essex County: Boys & Girls Clubs of Newark, Newark
- Essex County: Boys & Girls Club of West Orange, West Orange
- Gloucester County: Boys & Girls Clubs of Gloucester County, Paulsboro
- Hudson County: Boys & Girls Clubs of Hudson County, Hoboken
- Mercer County: Boys & Girls Club of Mercer County, Trenton
- Middlesex County: Boys & Girls Clubs of Perth Amboy, Carteret
- Monmouth County: Boys & Girls Clubs of Monmouth County, Asbury Park
- Passaic County: Boys & Girls Club of Clifton, Clifton
- Passaic County: Boys & Girls Club of Hawthorne, Hawthorne
- Passaic County: Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest New Jersey, Haledon
- Passaic County: Boys & Girls Clubs of Paterson & Passaic, Passaic
- Union County: Boys & Girls Clubs of Union County, Plainfield
Asthma is a disorder that causes the airways of the lungs to swell and narrow. It is one of the most common, recurring childhood illnesses. Nearly 300,000 children in New Jersey have been diagnosed with asthma.
Common asthma symptoms include:
- Shortness of Breath
- Tightness in the chest
Common asthma triggers include:
- Tobacco smoke
- Dust mites
- Outdoor air pollution
- Cockroach allergen
- Pets (furry)
Symptoms can go from mild to severe and they differ from person to person. Each asthma attack can have different symptoms.
- Asthma is the most prevalent chronic illness among children.
- In 2009, one in seven New Jersey children under age 18 had suffered from asthma at some point in life, and one in 11 currently had asthma. Nearly two-thirds of children with the lifetime condition had current asthma: 295,000 and 188,000 children, respectively.
- Asthma is the leading cause of school absenteeism.
- Uncontrolled pediatric asthma accounts for over 600,000 Emergency Room visits in the United States each year.
- Asthma is responsible for the highest total costs of any preventable pediatric hospitalizations. Total annual spending for children’s asthma-related hospital visits in the United States is more than $300 million.
- In 2009, asthma accounted for a record 16,600 hospital stays in New Jersey and a record 52,800 Emergency Department visits, mostly involving young children.