Andrew Jackson Middle School in Cross Lanes has received a $1,200 grant for physical activity, including Hula Hooping with dance.
Along with the Big Tyler Road school’s $1,200 allocation, the American Heart Association’s Kids Heart Challenge awarded more than $400,000 to more than 170 elementary schools around the country that participated in the program’s inaugural year, 2018-19.
The Kids Heart Challenge offers four physical activations to get students’ hearts pumping: jumping rope, practicing basketball skills, dancing or completing an obstacle course.
Grant recipients are able to implement a variety of wellness activities with additions such as physical activity equipment, a mobile salad bar, CPR training resources, water bottle filling stations and educator training opportunities on their campuses.
“I am impressed with how Jim Jordan, the school’s coordinator, is able to encourage and engage with his students,” said American Heart Association Youth Market Director Lindsey Good said in a media release.
“Andrew Jackson Middle set a record last year for the highest impact ever reached and was also the top fundraising middle school in Kanawha County; you just can’t have success like that without someone like Mr. Jordan behind the scenes,” Good said.
Jordan, the AJMS wellness teacher, said he submitted the grant to the AHA to acquire dance/Hula Hoops for the students.
“They’re a special kind of hoop,” Jordan explained last week. “The kids can do tricks with it, using their arms and legs. It’s sort of a way to trick them into doing exercise that’s fun. They can do all kinds of different things with them.
“It’s not just your ordinary hoop,” he added. “As soon as we find a source to get them from, we’ll use the school money and put them to use as soon as we get them.”
AJMS Principal Rhonda Donohoe said all of the 600 students at the school this academic year will have chances to use the equipment and reap the exercise benefits.
“Every student in our wellness classes has to take at least one semester, so everyone will have the opportunity to be a user of this equipment that comes with the grant,” Donohoe said.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 20% of children get enough activity to meet physical activity recommendations. The Kids Heart Challenge is rooted in science which has shown that children 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 better grades, school attendance and classroom behavior. Physical activity can also help children feel better.
In 2019, the American Heart Association is observing 40 years of bringing heart health programs to schools across the country by awarding financial grants to invest in America’s schools and help educators make whole-body wellness a priority.