A heart-healthy fundraising initiative at Dennis M. Kenney Middle School has shown that the Hannibal community and its students have giving hearts.
In partnership with the American Heart Association, the DMK physical education department recently worked to raise awareness of cardiac issues while simultaneously raising funds for the organization.
The initiative, dubbed Hoops for Heart, promotes physical activity, heart-healthy dietary and lifestyle choices and community service.
“This is an annual community service project to bring awareness to heart attacks and stroke, while also educating kids how to keep their own hearts healthy,” said Meg Gibbons, of the American Heart Association. “There are lesson plans that specifically tie into the Common Core. It’s not just physical education, it’s also English Language Arts, science and other subjects.”
According to DMK physical education teacher Penny Leonard, the lesson in giving and helping others is one of the most significant components of the experience.
She said that fifth-grader Carl Emmons took this lesson to a whole new level with this year’s fundraiser.
“Carl has been bringing in more money every week,” Leonard said. “He has a baby cousin who is in the hospital with heart issues, so he took a special interest in Hoops for Heart.”
For Emmons, that special interest translated into a $1,110 donation to the American Heart Association.
“I tried so hard to raise more money by myself than the whole school did last year,” Emmons said. “I really wanted to get to $1,000 and I was surprised that I did.“
Adding the funds Emmons raised to the money raised by other DMK students, the school collected $2,892, surpassing last year’s total by nearly $1,300.
“I want to thank you for all of your hard work,” Gibbons said. “We will hand this money over to doctors, nurses and scientists so they can figure out ways to fix hearts of kids and adults. You’re saving live when you raise money for the American Heart Association. That’s what you’re really doing.”