Students at Martinsville Elementary School have more opportunities to be active this year 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 2016-2017 school year, the fitness equipment was installed over the summer and the school is ready to launch the fitness program at Martinsville Elementary.
Parents and community members are invited to the fitness launch set for 2 pm, Tuesday, Oct. 18, at Martinsville Elementary. The event will be moved indoors in the event of inclement weather.
It is the fifth 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. We had applied for it in the past and feel fortunate to have been selected. The kids are very excited too. At the start of the school year, they ran directly to the outdoor equipment at recess. It provides them with a new way to exercise while having fun,” Victoria Norton, Martinsville Elementary School principal said. Teachers have been trained on its use and plan to incorporate it into the classroom.
Community members will also benefit from the outdoor equipment, as it is available for their use while school is not in session, Norton said. She asks that community members using the equipment be respectful and to help keep the area clean and safe for the school children.
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 hundreds of schools across the United States.
While Kansas, Illinois was the charter Project Fit America school in this region, other schools receiving the equipment include Neoga Middle School, Casey-Westfield Jr. High and Lake Crest Elementary School in Oakland.
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,” Laura Bollan, SBL Healthy Communities Director 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.