OAKLEAF – Students in many elementary schools in Oakleaf, Clay County, the First Coast and around the country have been participating in The Kids Heart Challenge to move their bodies toward heart health, earn benefits for their schools and give back to their community this school year.
The American Heart Association-First Coast announced Oakleaf Village Elementary was the highest fundraising school for the challenge with more than $20,000 this year – more than any other school on the First Coast.
Since 2009, Oakleaf Village has raised more than $212,000 for the work of the American Heart Association. Much of the success of the program is due to the hard work and commitment of Physical Education teacher, Rose Woolwine.
“The Kids Heart Challenge is a great way to teach students about heart health and the benefits of living a healthy life,” Woolwine said. “I also love the charitable aspect of it and helping others. I am extremely grateful to the faculty and staff at Oakleaf Village Elementary, as well our parents and community, for embracing this worthy cause and supporting our Kids Heart Challenge event.
Funds the challenge supports advocacy initiatives to keep physical education in schools, ensures kids have access to healthy foods and provides resources to advocate for CPR in school laws that ensure every student knows how to save a life. Since 1949, the Association has funded $4.1 billion in research since 1949 and currently funds 2,000 scientists around the United States.
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 challenge offers four activations to get students’ hearts pumping:
• Kids Heart Challenge Jump – With jump ropes in hand, students learn about the many health benefits of jumping rope – it burns calories, build agility and increases bone density – while competing in challenges to complete the most jumps in a minute.
• Kids Heart Challenge Hoops – Playing basketball not only builds character, it reveals it through team work and comradery. Students aim, shoot, cheer and celebrate as they take the court for Kids Heart Challenge Hoops. It’s not only fun for them; it’s good for their emotional well-being.
• Kids Heart Challenge Dance – Students will get moving and laughing as they dance to the “Cha-Cha Slide” or “Space Jam” and show off their hip-hop or Virginia reel skills. As the dancing gets under way, students understand that feel good feeling from their heads down to their toes. They’ll get plenty of physical activity while learning self-confidence, creativity, and collaboration.
• Kids Heart Challenge Warrior – The obstacle course where students crawl, run and leap their way to a cardio-pumping great time as they dart through cones, fly over hurdles or tip-toe across the balance beam. Warrior events give students feelings of achievement and strength while they cheer each other on. Let the games begin!
In addition to the new activations, the Kids Heart Challenge provides enhanced give-backs, direct contributions to schools and new curriculum for teachers supporting whole-child centered learning. Certificates to purchase physical education equipment are available. Participating schools are also eligible to apply for the new grant program, furthering the health impact teachers can have with their students. The enhanced curriculum available with the Kids Heart Challenge includes a series of classroom-based physical activity plans and resources that support social and emotional learning.
Teachers also gain access to OPEN (Online Physical Education Network) which provides physical education curriculum resources and physical activity programming.
More information about Kids Heart Challenge is available online at heart.org/kidsheartchallenge. Educators and challenge coordinators may also join the new Kids Heart Challenge Facebook group at www.facebook.com/group/kidsheartchallenge to share stories, best practices, and successes.
To learn more about other school programs, or to make a donation to the American Heart Association, please visit www.heart.org.