Grants for fitness facilities at Whitesville, West Louisville | Health
West Louisville and Whitesville elementary schools were recently awarded Community Benefit grants sponsored by Owensboro Medical Health System. OMHS distributed nearly $641,400 to 53 regional organizations for 57 projects last week.
West Louisville received $15,000 for a fitness room and Whitesville was awarded $12,154 for its “Fit for the Future: Beginning with the End in Mind” program.
Kristy Julian, WLES physical education instructor, submitted the grant for a fitness room, which will provide enhanced opportunities for physical activity for students. The request was based on research showing a correlation between activity and improved academic achievement.
WLES has already demonstrated an ongoing commitment to physical education for students. The school sponsors a cross-country team, fitness club and jump rope team, and students participate in special activities such as Jump Rope for Heart to benefit the American Heart Association.
“With the opportunity to receive more adequate amounts of physical activity during the school day, obesity and obesity-related issues will decrease, while at the same time academic performance will increase,” Julian said. “We also foresee improvement in behavior issues as children are given the opportunity to move and be active during the school day.”
Janet Farrell, physical education instructor at WES, said the grant will be used to provide a “fitness circuit” to enhance pre- and post-fitness testing in partnership with the OMHS health screening provided for students. Farrell will conduct tests and analyze results to measure improvement in students’ cardiorespiratory endurance, musical strength, muscular endurance, flexibility and body composition. Efforts will also focus on providing students with skills and knowledge so they can expand what they learn and do at school into their home environments.
The Whitesville community does not have a fitness facility for youths or adults, and Farrell noted that rising gas prices and other factors discourage families from driving to Owensboro or neighboring communities to take advantage of facilities. “An outdoor fitness circuit would be a way for families to include exercise in their everyday lives,” Farrell said. “People are more likely to participate in physical activity if their community has facilities which support recreational activities.”
Owens Saylor, DCPS Superintendent, expressed appreciation for the staff members who took the time to submit grant proposals. “This is a reflection of these educators’ ongoing commitment to the wellbeing of our children and their families, not just for today, but in the future as well. I applaud their work in guiding children as they develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime.”