Archive for Thursday, February 9, 2006

Jump around

K-5 students raise funds for American Heart Association

February 9, 2006

With child obesity rates on the rise in the U.S., Lansing Elementary and Intermediate School students are taking a stand by not standing still.

Kindergartners through fifth-graders at the schools are participating in Jump Rope for Heart this week, a national campaign sponsored by the American Heart Association and the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.

According to figures from the American Heart Association, 15 percent of children and adolescents are overweight.

"I like jump rope because it gets me into shape for the day," LES second-grader Ashlynn Bohannon said.

That's what the event aims to teach students.

LES physical education teacher Cheryl Orlowski said both Lansing schools incorporate the event into the jump-rope curriculum rather than hold a separate event so more students can participate.

Students spend their P.E. time working on jump-rope skills. Younger students in kindergarten and first grade practice the basics, while older students start practicing tricks, such as having two students jump in one rope.

To participate in Jump Rope for Heart, students seek donations, either based on the number of minutes they jump or a flat rate. The money benefits the national sponsors by generating funding for research and public education, but the schools and students also benefit, Orlowski said.

For every $1,500 students raise, the P.E. teachers receive a $100 gift certificate to buy equipment. When she first incorporated Jump Rope for Heart at LES 17 years ago, Orlowski said, the school earned $10,000. Since then, donations have gone down but average $4,000 to $6,000 per year, she said.

Students also earn prizes based on the amount they individually raise. Prizes range from a Frisbee to a bike to a trip to Walt Disney World in Florida.

But what matters to Orlowski is the impact the event can have.

"I feel it's important for the research," she said.

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