Ashgrove Elementary received grant for playground upgrades

(Riverton, WY) — The American Heart Association’s school-based youth programs, Kids Heart Challenge™ and American Heart Challenge™ awarded $2,500 to Ashgrove Elementary School in Riverton for physical activity equipment to upgrade the school’s playground. The annual grant program supports schools by funding resources to extend school wellness programs.

The American Heart Association, a global force for healthier lives for all, is helping educators make whole-body wellness a priority by bringing more resources to school campuses. Grant recipients are now able to expand their schools’ wellness offerings with additions such as physical activity equipment, water bottle filling stations, and educator training opportunities on their campuses to encourage their students to stay healthy and active. The application process was open to all schools that participated in the school-based programs in the 2021-2022 school year.

Sam Gardner, state director for the American Heart Association in Wyoming, noted the role that schools play in the development of students’ health-related behaviors.

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“Placing an emphasis on establishing healthy environments and behaviors can help students understand the importance of wellness,” said Gardner. “Giving health a specific moment in time, especially in light of the pandemic, is an important way for our schools to support our students.”

Cree Neuendorf, physical education teacher at Ashgrove Elementary, said the funds would be used to update the playground’s basketball area.

Kids Heart Challenge offers a variety of physical activities to get elementary students’ hearts pumping such as dance, basketball or jumping rope paired with digital missions to learn life-saving skills like Hands-Only CPR™. The American Heart Challenge is a service-learning program for middle and high school students. The program also helps boost heart health and self-esteem, while reducing stress and anxiety through programs featuring yoga, dance and obstacle courses. Both programs’ curriculums help prepare kids for success by supporting physical and emotional well-being, while offering new learning resources and physical activities to meet the needs of today’s youth and educators.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans,[1] only 20% of kids get enough activity to meet physical activity recommendations. Both the Kids Heart Challenge and American Heart Challenge are rooted in proven science, which has shown that kids who are regularly active have a better chance of a healthy adulthood[2].

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In addition to physical health, the benefits of physical activity for children include improved 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[3].

Funds raised by Kids Heart Challenge and American Heart Challenge participants support the American Heart Association’s scientific research and outreach programs, paving the way for improved health outcomes for healthier communities.

To learn more about the American Heart Association’s kids’ initiatives, or to make a donation, please visit www.heart.org/kids.

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