Last week I was reminding one of my 5th grade PE classes about the Jump Rope for Heart event that was planned for a few days afterward. One of the students explained that he wasn’t going since he didn’t see that the American Heart Association needed any more money. I rather agreed with him, but remained silent as I’m the principal organizer for the shindig.
“So why do it?” I wondered that week. Jump Rope for Heart raises money for the Heart Association. Children ask people they know to contribute, usually a flat dollar amount, in honor of the jumping that they will do at school. The students are motivated by prizes they earn for raising different dollar amounts: water bottles, jump ropes, plastic toys, tee shirts.
After the event, I had my answer. It felt right in these ways:
- Thirty seven children enjoyed jumping rope for an hour.
- They worked hard at the jumping.
- They helped each other across grade levels and economic strata.
- They took some initiative to ask scores of adults to contribute.
- About a dozen adults were there to support the jumpers.
- The Heart Association may be over funded, but clearly it’s not doing evil.
- My profession and its greatest purpose–children’s health–has been helped by the Heart Association, which has taken the lead in lobbying for more PE time for children in public schools.
I’m not sure about plastic toys, but I am sure that activity, personal initiative and support from peers and parents is good for my students.
We had 50% more jumpers than have ever come before. We raised more money than we ever have, too.
The coolest part was when we turned out the gym illumination and brought out the rope lights left over from the decor of some Christmas in the past. They worked well, so long as somebody held the loose-fitting plug in the wall socket. We only lost about 20% of the lights out of the center of the 18 foot rope.