Students at Lake Crest Elementary School in Oakland will have more opportunities to be active this fall with the addition of new outdoor and indoor fitness equipment designed to teach the importance of health and exercise.
Selected as Sarah Bush Lincoln’s Project Fit America recipient for the 2014-2015 school year, plans are underway to install the equipment and launch the fitness program at Lake Crest Elementary in the fall. It is the fourth area school to win a Project Fit America grant funded by Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Foundation. “We are all very excited to receive this grant. It’s quite a bit of indoor and outdoor equipment and the kids are undoubtedly going to enjoy it. It provides them with a new way to exercise and have fun at the same time,” Patty Stark, Lake Crest Elementary School principal said. She added that the teachers are looking forward to being trained on its use and incorporate it into the classroom curriculum.
People in the Oakland community will also benefit from the new exercise equipment, as they are encouraged to use the outdoor equipment as well. It will be installed this summer near the outdoor playground equipment, Stark said.
Schools throughout East Central Illinois were invited to apply for the Project Fit America grant. Project Fit America provides physical fitness equipment along with a broad based exercise curriculum designed to increase physical activity and reduce obesity. Project Fit America, a nationwide program recognized by the General Surgeon, is located in 870 schools in 43 states across America.
Kansas, Illinois is the charter Project Fit America School for this region. Kansas received its fitness equipment and curriculum for the 2008-2009 school year, while Neoga Middle School received funding for the program in 2010-2011 school year, and Casey Westfield Jr. High received it in 2012-2013 school year.
Included in the Project Fit America program are activities to address student’s self-esteem, smoking intervention, fitness as fun and exercise among others. The goal for students is to take personal responsibility for their health. In addition, the program helps teachers diffuse restless behavior in children. Physical activity provided during the school day helps children to be more inclined to sit, listen and learn in the classroom. Schools receive support from Project Fit for two-years with training sessions offered on site.
“We know that by promoting healthy habits with our youth, we can make a lifelong difference in the health of our communities,” Sarah Betts, Healthy Kids educator said. She added SBL is invested in changing the statistics that include approximately 9,000 children in its service area who are classified as overweight or obese.
For more information on Project Fit America, contact the SBL Healthy Communities office at (217) 345-6827.