Nashua’s Mount Pleasant Elementary School receives grant for health resources

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American Heart Association grants allow school to support of physical and emotional health

The American Heart Association’s school-based youth programs, Kids Heart Challenge™ and American Heart Challenge™, awarded $2,300 to Mount Pleasant Elementary School in Nashua for Physical Education equipment. The annual grant program supports schools by funding resources to extend school wellness programs.

“Laura Short, the Physical Education teacher at Mount Pleasant and a Kids Heart Challenge volunteer, is truly committed to the health and well-being of her students. Ms. Short goes above and beyond by instilling heart-healthy messages throughout the school year. She advocates for her whole school community and has passionately encouraged other school volunteers to join the Kids Heart Challenge program,” said Robyn Birren, the Association’s School Engagement Director for New Hampshire.

The American Heart Association, a global force for healthier lives for all, is helping educators make whole-body wellness a priority by bringing more resources to school campuses. Grant recipients are now able to expand their schools’ wellness offerings with additions such as physical activity equipment, water bottle filling stations and educator training opportunities on their campuses. The application process was open to all schools who participated in the school-based programs in the 2022-2023 school year.

“It is an amazing experience to see students feel good while doing good,” said Birren. “We are empowering our children with life-saving skills such as Hands-Only CPR, how to advocate for their heart health, and teaching valuable life skills such as being kind and managing stress.”

Kids Heart Challenge offers a variety of physical activities to get elementary students’ hearts pumping such as dance, basketball or jumping rope paired with digital missions to learn life-saving skills like Hands-Only CPR™. The American Heart Challenge is a service-learning program for middle and high school students. The program also helps boost heart health and self-esteem, while reducing stress and anxiety through programs featuring yoga, dance and obstacle courses. Both programs’ 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.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 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 adulthood.

In addition to 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 depression.

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 2023-2024 school year.

The program provides grant funding twice a year, mid-school year and year end, to provide resources in real time to students. The application for the next round of grants is December 15th if the school completes the Kids Heart Challenge by December. If not, they can apply for the second round of grants by May 31st if their school is participating in the program during the second half of the school year.

To learn more about the American Heart Association’s kids initiatives, or to make a donation, please visit If you would like to learn more about Kids Heart Challenge in your school community, please reach out to School Engagement Director, Robyn Birren, at