Centre City Elementary School in Mantua is in the middle of the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Kids Heart Challenge, a month-long charitable effort that raises awareness of heart health in adults and kids and raises funds for heart-health research.
The school kicked off the charity drive with an assembly that took place on Feb. 2 – February is National Heart Health Month – to explain the challenge and its goals to the students.
“The assembly went well,” said Principal Jennifer Cavalieri. “Our representative from the American Heart Association (AHA), Arielle Ben-Haim, kicked off the assembly with the new theme, characters that the kids can win, information about being heart healthy and some videos.
“Then, our PE teacher, Mr. (Christopher) Dalsey, took over and led a jump rope fun competition between homerooms in each grade,” she added. “The winning student by applause in each grade won an avocado-stuffed animal. It was loud and fun.”
The challenge began at Centre City in 2006 but has been going on for 50 years, according to the AHA website. On top of raising money, students participate in exercises that promote good cardiovascular health during February. They can also earn prizes for donating.
“The kids love it, and love registering and raising money, because they earn fun keychains and prizes too,” said Cavalieri. “They learn how to properly jump and jump rope and have great heart-healthy exercise all month long.”
“Through fun activities we’ll discover ways to take care of our hearts and brains while practicing kindness, gratitude and learning ways to de-stress,” notes the online description of the challenge.
As of Feb. 6, Centre City has raised $6,761.95, according to the Kids Heart Challenge website. The drive began the day before and is 34% of the way toward its goal of $20,000. It will end on Friday March 1.
Should the school reach its goal, Cavalieri made students a promise.
“If we win, there’s a big, fun surprise for the students,” she said.
The challenge website explains that Centre City also has a chance to receive physical education equipment. The school raised $24,886 in 2022, the highest amount in its history.
To help the school with its drive, access the Centre City Elementary School Kids Heart Challenge page on the AHA’s website.