Local school awarded one of the first Kids Heart Challenge grants

Sauquoit Valley Middle School is one of nine schools across the country receiving new grants from the American Heart Association.

To help kick off the American Heart Association’s Move More Month, nine schools are receiving the first round of grants as part of the inaugural Kids Heart Challenge grant program. Recipients plan to use their share of funding for physical activity equipment, water filling stations and improvements for recreation spaces. Sauquoit Valley Middle School will receive $3,000 for snow shoes and sledding equipment for winter activities.

Through the Kids Heart Challenge students learn healthy lifestyle habits for emotional and physical well-being and the value of community service by raising funds to help kids with special hearts.

“The American Heart Association strongly believes in the important role schools and educators share in shaping future generations by providing a strong foundation of health and physical activity through the Kids Heart Challenge,” said Tanya Edwards, executive vice president of community development and health for the American Heart Association. “Through the new Kids Heart Challenge grant program, our participating schools and educators gain access to critical funds to amplify their continued positive health impact on students and within their local communities.”

“This funding will allow our students and staff the opportunity to learn and participate in a lifetime outdoor fitness activity (snow shoeing),” said Sauquoit Valley Middle School PE teacher Darleen Philpotts. “Most students would never get the chance to experience snow shoeing and the enjoyment it can bring.  Now, all students in Sauquoit Middle School who may or may not participate in traditional sports will have the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors during the winter months in Physical Education. Our hope is to also allow students to use the snow shoes after school with other teachers to create a healthy, unified learning environment.”

This first round of grants totals $36,320. The eight additional schools receiving grants are:

  • Copeland Elementary School in Dobson, NC – $2,600 for disc golf equipment
  • Crivitz Elementary and Middle School in Crivitz, WI – $5,000 for playground improvements, equipment and disability access
  • Environmental Charter School in Pittsburgh, PA – $5,000 for expansion of health and physical education program from K-3 to grades K-5
  • Jose De Escandon Elementary in Mission, TX – $5,000 for playground renovations
  • Kennedy Elementary School in Pierre, SD – $4,820 for physical activity equipment and resources
  • Lincoln Elementary School in Miles City, MT – $5,000 for physical activity equipment for the “Lincoln Fit Kids” program
  • Sandpiper Shores Elementary in Boca Raton, FL – $5,000 for water bottle filling stations
  • Sorrento Primary in Sorrento, LA – $900 for “9 square in the air” activity materials

Additional grants will be awarded after the application deadline with a total of $400,000 to be awarded this school year. The American Heart Association plans to award up to $400,000 in grants annually to schools who apply for funding to support physical activity and emotional well-being programs for students and teachers. All schools that participate in the Kids Heart Challenge are eligible to apply for up to $5,000. Applications can be submitted online through the May 1 deadline.

The Kids Heart Challenge encourages heart-healthy behavior as students pledge to be more physically active, drink more water and do a good deed. For teachers, the Kids Heart Challenge offers four activations to get students’ hearts pumping: jump rope, basketball, dance and an obstacle course-style event. The program is celebrating the Association’s 40th year working in schools with exciting new content that meets the changing needs of today’s youth and educators and helps prepare kids for success through physical and emotional well-being, all while fundraising for the American Heart Association.

More information about the Kids Heart Challenge is available online at heart.org/kidsheartchallenge. Educators and Kids Heart Challenge coordinators may also join the new Kids Heart Challenge Facebook group to share stories, best practices and event successes. To learn more about other school programs, or to make a donation to the American Heart Association, please visit www.heart.org.

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