Kids Heart Challenge and American Heart Challenge grant allow school to target whole-body wellness in support of physical and emotional health
The American Heart Association’s school-based youth programs, Kids Heart Challenge™ and American Heart Challenge™, awarded $1292 to the John D. Jenkins Elementary School in Woodbridge, VA to purchase hand weights and yoga mats for staff fitness programming to improve the health and well-being of teachers and school administration workers. The school has a goal of least 25% school staff participation in school-based fitness classes. The annual grant program will support the John D. Jenkins Elementary school by funding resources that also extend school wellness programs for students. During the school year, fitness teachers and coaches will introduce the weights to 4th and 5th grade students who will learn about working out specific muscle groups in the gym and aligns that to the classroom with curriculum around the muscular and skeletal system and energy expenditure. All grade levels will be introduced to a new unit involving meditation, mindfulness, and yoga which will put the yoga mats to use in many facets of the school community.
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 to encourage their students to stay healthy and active. The application process was open to all schools that participated in the school-based programs in the 2021-2022 school year.
“We are proud to support the efforts of John D Jenkins Elementary School in their effort to improve the health of staff, teachers and students, “said Owen Billman, president of Blake Real Estate and chair of the Board of Directors for the American Heart Association, Greater Washington Region. “Through the Kids Heart Challenge and American Heart Challenge grants we can bring teachers, coaches and kids resources that shape the well-being of leaders of today and tomorrow.”
With deep roots in physical activity, Kids Heart Challenge and American Heart Challenge have expanded beyond the gym to meet the needs of today’s youth and educators as science has proven the strong connection between physical and mental health. Kids Heart Challenge offers a variety of physical activities to get elementary students’ hearts pumping such as dance, basketball or jumping rope paired with a digital mission to learn life-saving skills such as 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.
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.
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 2022-2023 school year. The program provides grant funding twice a year, mid-school year and year-end, to provide resources in real-time to students. Since the grant program began in 2019, over a million dollars has been granted to schools to support projects that make schools healthier.
To learn more about the American Heart Association’s kids initiatives, or to make a donation, please visit www.heart.org/kids.
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