LIMA — Six area schools will be taking the initiative to keep their students fit and healthy thanks to a $2,000 grant funded by St. Rita’s Health Partners.
“We wanted to support the schools and create a healthy culture for the students,” Amy Marcum, vice president of mission and values integration at St. Rita’s, said. The goal of the grant program, known as the Activated School Challenge, is to jumpstart sustainable school programs that keep kids active and teach them about healthy eating.
Solutions vary, and the six schools awarded — Allen East, Bath, Delphos Jefferson, Lima Central Catholic, Spencerville and Temple Christian — have all taken different approaches on how to spend their $2,000.
The student council took the reins at Allen East High School. In the end, the decision was made to split the $2,000. Half would go to the physical education program, and the other half would fund a field day. The student council recognized that not every student wants to play dodgeball or kickball, and it’s still looking at the best way to involve every student in the school-wide field day.
Instead of limiting funds to school programs, Bath looked to the community to find the best way to spend the $2,000. It was decided that Bath schools would undertake the construction of a footpath that would loop around the entire Bath campus. Eventually, Bath would like to pave the path, find local businesses to sponsor some of the construction costs and make the path available to schools as a cross country course. The approximately 3.5 mile long final product will be something the entire community will be able to use.
Delphos Jefferson School Nurse Stacey Ricker admitted that Delphos Jefferson had a lot of potential uses for the funds, but they ultimately decided to help special needs students, who have higher rates of obesity. The new program would purchase new exercise equipment that could increase a student’s strength and balance, and the special needs classes would implement two to three 15-minute daily exercise sessions to use them.
Lima Central Catholic High Shool
After noticing that athletes were often hungry by the end of the day when practice begun, Lima Central Catholic decided to make sure that students had access to a healthy breakfast. The school would use the $2,000 grant buy the equipment and storage space necessary for a schoolwide breakfast, which Lima Central Catholic representatives Jackie Pchuta and Deb Shenk said the students are looking forward to.
Gyms at Spencerville Elementary have a secondary use in the winter — space for recess. Students, however, are often packed inside without much structure. Spencerville decided to change that by purchasing items that allow for more structured play inside the gym such as tumbling mats, cornhole boards and other games. Spencerville schools also used a portion of the grant to incorporate better fruit presentation in the cafeteria to encourage students to grab a low-calorie snack instead of a candy bar.
PE Teach Megan Kinnear noticed that some of the children she taught weren’t engaged with some of the more typical gym games due to lack of coordination or skill. So she found a game that would engage students at all skill levels — a ga-ga pit. An octoganal structure with walls that come up to the waist for an average adult, the pit changes how kids play dodgeball and makes it simpler for anyone at any size and skill level to play.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.