Describe the conversation with your administration about health. moves. minds.? Which talking points seemed to resonate best with your admin?
Before I hosted a health. moves. minds fundraiser I hosted a Jump Rope for Heart fundraiser at my school every year. When that fundraising option ended, and I was on the hunt for something new to continue supporting my physical education program and my students, I helped to give feedback to SHAPE America on what kind of program we (physical education teachers) felt was needed in our schools to help teach our students. Once the program was ready for launch, I went to my administrator and explained the health. moves. minds. fundraising program, the curriculum created and provided to our school for free, and its goal to help teach students social-emotional skills and my administrator was on board immediately. He had said, “if you think this program is what is needed in your curriculum, then go for it.”
How did you introduce the fundraiser to your students and parents? What was their reaction?
I introduced the health. moves. minds program to my students and parents with the slogan “It’s time for something NEW”! As with anything new, I shared information on what the program is, how it will benefit student learning, and also introduced the charity that we were supporting (The Ability Center). I also shared that this program not only gives back to our school and a charity of our choice, but supports State and National health and physical education advocacy and supportive resources for teachers. I have great support from my school community for physical education so I was not surprised when they supported our health. moves. minds fundraiser.
We want to learn from your success and how you got parents and students so engaged. Please attach the emails you sent to parents and any other documents you used to get everyone excited for your fundraising efforts.
Which events did you run throughout your fundraiser to encourage participation? Please explain your successful events in detail.
After the first year, I decided that I wanted to build my health. moves. minds. program and make it more of a year-long effort for students to learn the different social-emotional skills, lessons, and support kindness throughout the school building so I started to incorporate Kindness Weeks twice a year – one in November for World Kindness Day and the second in February for Random Acts of Kindness Week.
The Kindness Weeks included kindness related books that were recorded as read-a-louds for teachers to play for their classes, classroom activities to support what we were learning in PE, daily News Team advertisements and mindfulness activities, some sort of yearly photo mural that is created by students, and different ways to give back to our local community outside of the health. moves. minds. fundraiser.
I truly wanted students to be able to look outside of themselves and be able to make an impact on others around them in their school building and in the community. Some of the outside charity work was collecting supplies for a local dog rescue that I volunteered for personally, collecting books that would be donated to a program that gets books into the hands of kids that need them, donating used winter gear to a local shelter, and collecting food donations for our local food pantry. It was so successful, that this is how I have been doing health. moves. minds. in my school since! It is not a small unit that we visit one time per year, but a theme that helps to guide our school community throughout each and every year.
What type of feedback did you hear from students and parents?
Students and families love the health. moves. minds. program at our school and all that it brings to the students learning and understanding of kindness and supporting those in need. I have only ever had positive feedback from my school and community! I offer an opportunity for families to give back – either a monetary donation with the health. moves. minds. fundraiser or a gently used or purchased item to give to someone in need in our community. I do not push hard for either; I offer and they rise to the occasion with full and complete support!
What is something you would consider doing differently next year?
I am a HUGE fan of the different yearly themes of the health. moves. minds. fundraising program and I try to tailor my event to that theme in some way. My current brainstorm is that I want to include some orienteering lessons as part of my health. moves. minds. lessons and activities to follow the “Let Kindness Guide You” theme. Nothing is solidified yet, but a constant work in progress!
In which ways did you incorporate kindness into your fundraising efforts?
I answered this extensively above, but I plan and deliver 2 Kindness Weeks throughout the school year that include many different kindness read-alouds, kindness themed school activities, amplifying kindness into the community, and more.
How did the funds raised make a positive impact to your PE program?
I try to use my health. moves. minds. funds to buy NEW items for my Phy Ed program. I get a school budget that I try to use to replace current items in our curriculum but the fundraised monies is for brand new items that we would not normally have the opportunity to purchase if we did not hold this fundraiser. Some examples are: 2 slacklines, balancing equipment, hula hoop holders, new foam dice, foam hockey sticks, and more. I am currently saving a couple years worth of HMM events gift certificates to purchase something larger! 😉