Students at Paris Bridges Regional Safe School are excited about having more options to stay active during physical education classes.
The school recently received new fitness equipment, including bosu exercises balls, beaded jump ropes, weighted hula-hoops and medicine balls from the SBL Healthy Kids program, thanks to a $1,000 grant from WomenConnected, a giving circle within the SBL Health Foundation. WomenConnected is made up of 84 women and awards grants to a variety of Sarah Bush Lincoln programs and services each year.
“We have a limited amount of space available to use for physical education and do not have access to a traditional gymnasium so we needed activities that we could do with our students both outside and in the classroom, depending on the weather,” Paris Bridges principal/teacher Michelle Young said. In search of more opportunities to keep students active, Young reached out to SBL Healthy Communities Director Laura Bollan for help.
Bollan and the SBL Healthy Kids team were happy to accept the challenge. “Not only did they come up with age-appropriate activities to get our students moving, but they also provided new equipment though grant funding,” Young said.
Students were eager to test their skills after watching competitive challenge demonstrations when the new equipment was delivered on October 2. “The following school day, students were asking to use the new equipment during PE and challenged each other while demonstrating good sportsmanship. We trust this enthusiasm will continue throughout the school year,” Young said.
“There are many health benefits to being physically active,” she added. “In addition to students becoming more physically fit, I am hopeful this will give students the opportunity to develop healthy interpersonal skills while increasing their physical activity.”
Paris Bridges is an alternative school for middle and high school students who are in danger of suspension or expulsion for various reasons. “Every student here has had some tough life circumstances and we want to give them every opportunity to succeed,” Young said. It is one of four Regional Safe Schools under the supervision of the Regional Office of Education #11 and is located in Paris, serving students in Clark and Edgar counties.
“We currently have students from Paris, Marshall, and Kansas school districts but also serve students in Casey, Martinsville, Shiloh, and Chrisman. At this time, we have 22 students enrolled at Paris Bridges,” Young said.
While the students have different needs than those in other schools, Young said the topics of health and fitness are emphasized just as they are in traditional schools because it provides students with the exercise they need to be focused and active learners.