The American Heart Association awarded more than $13,400 in grants to seven schools in the Puget Sound region for equipment to help educators make whole- body wellness a priority.
The area grant recipients are as follows:
- Maplewood Elementary, Puyallup, $525 for Pickleball For AllTM equipment
- St. Frances Cabrini, Lakewood, $3,033 for a portable sound system
- Whittier Elementary, Tacoma, $380 for PE technology equipment
The American Heart Association’s Kids Heart ChallengeTM and American Heart ChallengeTM awarded more than $400,000 to more than 180 elementary, middle and high schools who participated in either the in-school or digital programs for the 2019-2020 school year. Kids Heart Challenge offers physical activations to get elementary students’ hearts pumping such as hoops or jumping rope paired with digital missions to learn life-saving skills like Hands-Only CPRTM. The American Heart Challenge is a service-learning program for middle and high school students. The program helps boost heart health and self-esteem, while reducing stress and anxiety through programs feature dance and obstacle courses. Both program curriculums help prepare kids for success by supporting physical and emotional well-being, while offering new learning resources and physical activities to meet the needs of today’s youth and educators.
Grant recipients are now able to implement a variety of wellness activities with additions such as physical activity equipment, CPR training resources, water bottle filling stations and educator training opportunities on their campuses.
“I am excited to be able to restructure my playground with peaceful playgrounds, so kids can safely go outside and play!” said Kathleen Reese, PE teacher at Cedar Wood Elementary.
Shelly Dunn, PE teacher at Maywood Hills Elementary, is thrilled to have the grant for building a sensory path for students. “This path will be a way for my students to take a productive break when overwhelmed by what is happening. It will also be a way for them to get a break from their cognitive learning with classroom and special ed teachers.” The path will be something new and exciting for the students when they return to the classroom.
“This very generous grant will allow our school to purchase a much-needed portable PA system for our PE program,” shared Mary Holroyd, K-8 PE specialist at St. Frances Cabrini School. “Music will greatly enhance and infuse much energy and enthusiasm into every class. The students will be so excited to amp up our weekly dance parties! This is truly a blessing.”
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans1 only 20% of kids get enough activity to meet physical activity recommendations. Both the Kids Heart Challenge and American Heart Challenge are rooted in proven science which has shown that kids who are regularly active have a better chance of a healthy adulthood2.
In addition to improved physical health, the benefits of physical activity for children include improved grades, school attendance and classroom behavior. Physical activity can also help kids feel better, improve mental health, build self-esteem and decrease and prevent conditions such as anxiety and depression3.
Funds raised by Kids Heart Challenge and American Heart Challenge participants support the American Heart Association’s scientific research and outreach programs, paving the way for improved health outcomes for healthier communities. Schools are encouraged to register now for the school-based programs to bring expanded curriculum resources to students in the 2020-21 school year. All participating schools are eligible to apply for the next grant cycle.