While government may see healthy lifestyles as an opportunity to raise taxes, Cedaredge Elementary sees them as a chance for fun, for learning, and for helping their school get better.
The parents, staff, students and friends of Cedaredge Elementary School observed a special day last week to help their school and promote good health at the same time. The innovative day-long event combined the annual school fund drive with academic focus on healthy living and fun physical activities.
The idea came about as the school's Parent Den pondered the annual school fundraiser. According to school staff and other Parent Den members, Heather Tietz provided the inspiration and lots of organizational energy for the day's events that involved the entire school and families from the community. Tietz also credits school principal Daniel Renfrow with encouraging the healthy lifestyles focus of the event.
Rather than conducting another spring sale of light bulbs or candy bars, promotional ideas that require big pay-outs to suppliers and that eat into school profits, it was decided to try a direct pledge-like appeal to families for a day promoting healthy living and learning.
"Each participant will raise funds by asking family and friends to sponsor them to participate in our day of learning about keeping health and strong, active brains and bodies," stated the program outline.
Families were asked to donate to the school which in response would conduct an entire day of health conscious activities and in which the families were invited to participate.
"Your kids will participate in a day filled with special events reinforcing healthy minds and body. Kids will be reading, running and learning about health food choices, hand hygiene, dental care and many more fun activities to do at home," explained a pledge/fundraising packet sent home with the kids.
Parent Den member Amy Sanders said they found that families were more willing to pledge or donate to a program of their children's healthy lifestyles learning than they were to buying an almond chocolate bar. The idea was a big hit with families and pledges totaling $6,500 rolled in the first day on March 31. By the end of the drive on the big activities day last Friday, over $11,107 had been raised from the school's family and friends to help support lifetimes of healthy living for the school's students. The amount that the event raised is over $3,000 more than was netted from the school's sales campaign fundraising, last year Tietz said.
School Principal Renfrow said that the money will be allocated to student field trips, books for classrooms and the library, and for technology improvements at the school.
The day's events at the school included a full agenda of activities from 8 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. and included assembly presentations on dental health, healthy snacks, reading activities, nutrition instruction, and outdoor activities. Staff from the school district's A Kidz Clinic gave presentations on health topics.
Families accepted the invitation to be a part of it all and moms pushing baby carriages accompanied their elementary schoolers around the CES track in a run/walk that was included in the program.
Awards and prizes were given out during an assembly at day's end. Kindle tablets, gift certificates, water bottles, healthy treats, a class pizza party, lunches in the park, and special small group tours of the Cedaredge Fire House conducted by members of the Cedaredge Volunteer fire Department were all included as rewards for kids who helped make the day successful, Tietz said.
Tietz said that the event could not have been so successful without the support of the school families and from local businesses and organizations including the following: Bank of Colorado, Creekside Cafe, Walmart, Cedaredge Subway, and Cedaredge Tire and Auto.