Just by doing the simple exercise of jumping rope, many students at Hannibal schools helped raise funds for heart research during the past school year.

Just by doing the simple exercise of jumping rope, many students at Hannibal schools helped raise funds for heart research during the past school year.

They were taking part in the Jump Rope for Heart/Hoops for Heart Youth Program.

While raising funds for the American Heart Association (AHA), the students also benefited from their exercise and were learning about heart health, according to Jay Johnson, physical education teacher at Oakwood Elementary School.

“At Oakwood we jumped individually and in groups,” Johnson said.

Those who raised money for the Heart Association were rewarded for their efforts, he said. “Any child that donated $10 would receive a keychain from the (American) Heart Association and was rewarded with an extra P.E. class they liked.”

This was a special event to raise awareness of the importance of cardiovascular fitness and conditioning, Johnson said.

“Also, we talked about how their donations went to help people who are victims of a heart attack, stroke or (have a) heart  transplant - how money was used to help them,” Johnson said.

The AHA has partnered with schools in Hannibal for many years with the Jump Rope for Heart fund-raiser, and this year, thanks to the AHA obtaining additional sponsors for the event, the schools will be receiving P.E. equipment.

Stephanie Jumps, AHA Youth Market Director in Columbia, Mo., explained that, “as an added benefit to the schools, I contacted sponsors and they not only sponsored the Heart Association but the schools to get sports equipment.

“The Heart Association has an added benefit” for the schools, Jumps said. “The participating schools received curricula and educational materials to educate students about heart disease.”

Local schools that participated in addition to Oakwood were  Hannibal Middle School, Mark Twain Elementary and Eugene Field Elementary. At the middle school, the students did the Hoops for Heart Youth Program, Jumps reported.

“Some students collect donations,” Jumps explained. However, “we promote the program that even if the student does not collect donations, we want them to do the jump rope. We want them to understand what heart health is all about, with exercise and healthy eating.”

Each of these schools will receive sports equipment for their physical education classes, she said. “The great thing about it is, each school gets their choice” of P.E. equipment.

Additional sponsors who made the program of sports equipment possible this year included the Hannibal Regional Hospital and the Heart Throbs, Jumps said. The Heart Throbs are a group of people who requested to remain anonymous rather than receive public recognition.

Jumps emphasized that for this program the AHA, “provides curriculum, equipment and support to the physical education teachers in schools that participate, to educate their students and families to learn how to live a healthy, active lifestyle and learn the signs of heart disease.

“Heartfelt thanks goes to the schools, P.E. teachers and sponsors for learning and living our mission – to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke,” Jumps said.

For more information about all AMA programs, contact Jumps at (573) 200-0385.