Students as Stadium Drive Elementary School worked hard in gym class last week raising funds for the American Heart Association while staying active with exercise.
The event was held for Jump Rope for Heart, a fundraising effort with more than one goal in mind.
"They are not only helping other children through collecting donations, but they are helping themselves through heart-healthy exercise," said gym instructor Kendal Daltorio.
Photos by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Stadium Drive first graders Marissa Funk and Ivan Rudiak have their own style as they work out with hula-hoops on Jan. 15.
Daltorio, who has been with the school for four years, has been involved with the Jump Rope for Heart program for the past three. According to Daltorio, the school had participated in the fundraiser in the past, but dropped off until she started it again.
The program enables students to raise funds for the AHA and at the same time take part in exercise classes to help keep their hearts healthy. Daltorio uses jump ropes and has incorporated hula-hoops. The students split their class in half, either starting with the jump rope or the hula-hoop, and then switching half way through the class.
According to Daltorio, last year the students raised slightly more than $1,000, but she expects to exceed that amount this year.
"This year I expect the total to be higher," she said. "There are some changes that should allow for that to happen."
She said this year students can bring in donations or can set up web pages and collect donations online. Some students have done that while others solicit funds from family, friends, church or through parent's work places. Fundraising is optional, Daltorio said, and students don't have to collect donations to take part in the Jump Rope for Heart exercise sessions.
Another incentive this year is collectible ducks. At various levels of donations, the student is awarded a toy duck on a lanyard. Each duck is colorful and has its own name. The collections start with the first $5 raised. First the student receives the Quacky Duck, and as more donations are received, more ducks and other prizes can be earned. Daltorio said a lot of students want to get the Ninja Duck, which is an online bonus.
"The AHA said the collectible ducks have brought an average increase of $900 more for schools taking part in the program," Daltorio said.
While the ducks are a motivational tool, the students still love taking part in the exercise classes. As far as what the program is about, Daltorio said one student at Stadium Drive who has been through heart surgery raises the most funds each year.
AHA donations from the program will be used locally at Akron Children's Hospital.