BENNINGTON — Students at Bennington Elementary this past month participated in a number of activities designed to teach about heart healthiness.
Throughout the month of February, the school hosted the American Heart Association's Jump Rope for Heart program.
"During the first weeks of February, students showed their kind-hearted nature by collecting funds for the American Heart Association that will support research and education efforts, and will help to save and improve lives across the country," said AmeriCorps VISTA Rory Price.
According to the AHA, the Jump Rope for Heart program is a series of national education and fundraising events for elementary and middle school students, which are sponsored by the AHA and the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE). The AHA's website touts the benefits of the program, which it lists as, "Kids learn the value of community service and become empowered to contribute to their community's welfare; Children join together in helping other kids with special hearts; Students learn how to develop heart-healthy habits while being physically active; Participants learn jump rope and basketball skills they can use for the rest of their lives; and students help your school earn gift certificates for free P.
"Even though the students enjoy getting donations to help other children, the main focus is to help the students help themselves," said Bennington Elementary physical education teacher Jason Monte, "If we can help them understand what they are putting into their body now and the effect it has on them later in life, then maybe we can prevent a heart attack or two. The American Heart Association does a great job promoting the Jump Rope For Heart program and the students not only benefit from all the materials but they also really enjoy the physical activity that comes with it."
Outside of the gym, students also read books about heart health and exercising, and decorated the school with hearts featuring healthy foods and activities.
"Students have learned about the importance of developing healthy habits, and discovered in the process that exercise and enjoying oneself aren't mutually exclusive," said Price, "Faculty and staff have joined in on the effort, both by showing off their jumping skills and by collecting donations. Last year, Bennington Elementary poured their heart into the event, and raised an amazing $968 for the American Heart Association; this year, they are hoping for an even $1000. If you can find it in your heart to donate, please contact Jason Monte via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 802-442-5256 Ext. 5521. Checks can be made payable to the American Heart Association and sent to Jason Monte at Bennington Elementary."
Derek Carson can be reached for comment at 802-447-7567, ext. 122.