A Western New York school is among the recipients of a nationwide grant from the American Heart Association.
The American Heart Association’s Kids Heart Challenge has awarded $3,500 to Oak Orchard Elementary School in Medina for a socially distant fitness trail. Awarded to schools across the country, the grants continue the American Heart Association’s commitment to help educators make whole-body wellness a priority.
The American Heart Association’s Kids Heart Challenge™ and American Heart Challenge™ 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 CPR™. 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.
“We are very excited about this opportunity. Our hope is to install a fitness trail that can be used by the students during the day and also the community after school hours” said Julie Webber, Principal at Oak Orchard Elementary.
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 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 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 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.
“The American Heart Association is proud to help support our local schools,” said Marc Natale, Executive Director for the American Heart Association. “Helping students learn to live longer, healthier lives means keeping both their minds and their bodies engaged.”
To learn more about other school programs, or to make a donation to the American Heart Association, please visit www.heart.org/kids