Three Massachusetts schools have been selected to receive money from the American Heart Association to provide physical and emotional health instruction to their students.
The grants are part of the American Heart Association’s Kids Heart Challenge program, which is awarding more than $400,000 to more than 170 elementary schools across the country that participated in the program’s inaugural year, 2018-19.
Massachusetts schools receiving funds are:
- Benjamin Brown (Somerville) – $1,790 for additional multi-use safety mats
- Carver Elementary (Carver) – $2,500 to create a new running path
- Egremont Elementary (Pittsfield) – $2,500 for new PE equipment
The Kids Heart Challenge aims to get students’ hearts pumping through jumping rope, playing basketball and dancing or completing an obstacle course. The curriculum prepares kids for success by supporting their physical and emotional well-being.
Schools are a critical link in providing the foundation for cardiovascular wellness in our country by helping students develop healthy habits at an early age, said Tanya Edwards, executive vice president of community development and health for the American Heart Association.
“With the addition of the grant program, teachers gain access to funds to take their efforts to the next level, making an even greater impact on their students, families and local communities,” said Edwards.
Only 20 percent of kids get enough activity to meet physical activity recommendations, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Kids Heart Challenge is rooted in proven science which has shown that kids 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 kids feel better, improve mental health, build self-esteem, and decrease and prevent conditions such as anxiety and depression.
Funds raised by Kids Heart Challenge participants support the American Heart Association’s scientific research and outreach programs, paving the way for technological breakthroughs to improve health outcomes while creating healthier communities. Schools are encouraged to register now for the Kids Heart Challenge to bring expanded curriculum resources to their classrooms in the coming school year. All participating schools are eligible to apply for grants ranging from $250 to $3,500.