Newton Elementary School was selected by Sarah Bush Lincoln as the recipient of the Project Fit America program in an effort to help the kids in the community improve their overall health and fitness.
It is the sixth area school to be awarded a grant for the national public fitness program, which is funded through the Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Foundation. The program aims to help students make activity, fitness and health a part of their everyday school experience.
Project Fit America provides indoor and outdoor fitness equipment, teacher training and physical education curriculum support. The outdoor equipment is free and open so the community may use it as well.
“This is such a happy surprise for our school. Project Fit America will really make a difference in our kids’ lives,” Assistant Principal Josh Benefiel said.
The equipment is specifically designed to target areas in which children generally fail fitness tests, focusing on lower body, abdominal, upper body and cardiovascular endurance. The outdoor equipment includes devices such as the horizontal ladder, sit-up station and parallel bars, while the indoor devices include weighted hula hoops and stacking cups, among others.
The curriculum is designed to increase the amount of time children are active on a weekly basis, while teaching students responsibility for their overall health, teamwork, sportsmanship and how to build self-esteem as well as lessons on nutrition and other health-related topics.
Kansas, Illinois is the charter Project Fit America School for this region. Kansas received its fitness equipment and curriculum in the 2008-2009 school year, while Neoga Middle School received funding for the program in 2010-2011 school year, Casey-Westfield Junior High School was awarded the equipment in the 2012-2013 school year, Lake Crest Elementary in Oakland received the award in 2014-2015 school year, and Martinsville Elementary School received the award in the 2015-2016 school year.
For more information on Project Fit America, call Laura Bollan, Healthy Communities Director at (217) 345-6828.
Cutline: Pictured is Newton Elementary School Assistant Principal Josh Benefiel, Physical Education teacher Blake Davidson, SBL Healthy Communities Director Laura Bollan, and Physical Education teacher Darla Mahaffey.