The American Heart Association’s school-based youth programs, Kids Heart Challenge™ and American Heart Challenge™, awarded $2,500 to Mount Pleasant Elementary School in Roanoke, for physical activity equipment. The annual grant program supports schools by funding resources to extend school wellness programs. The grant the school received will help purchase a “Systems of Adventure Wall” for its students, which will help them improve their balance, upper body strength, and develop their other systems that may have been neglected during the pandemic.
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 who participated in the school-based programs in the 2021-2022 school year.
“I am so excited for Allison Angell and the students of Mount Pleasant Elementary to receive this grant,” said Paula Wallace, Youth Markets Director for the American Heart Association. “Allison’s commitment to her students and her passion for their health and wellness are evident. I know this grant will make a great difference for the physical education department!”
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 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.
Kevin is the Communications Director for West Virginia and Western Virginia. When not in the office, Kevin is an active performer with the State 35 Comedy Troupe and is the founding member of the Ghostbusters – WV Division fundraising team. He has been with the organization since 2005.