Nicholson Elementary gets new playground equipment from grant

Nicholson Elementary Physical Education teacher Casey Penton has now seen her efforts have paid off with the furnishing a whole area of the playground with brand new equipment in the amount of $29,000.00. This all came about as a result of a grant submitted by Penton to Project Fit America and the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation.

The Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation recognizes the importance of providing exemplary school-based fitness and education equipment and programming to serve the needs of all students in Mississippi. To achieve this objective, the Foundation collaborated with Project Fit America (PFA) to build exercise stations and provide academic programs for schools, grades K-8.

Penton is quite pleased with the result of her efforts in obtaining the equipment through the grant program.

“The kids love it. It promotes fitness, exercise, and fun,” she happily stated,.

Student Dalijah Littles shared, "It's really fun" just after completing a turn on a set of the bars on the playground.

Penton has noticed how the children benefited from the experience.

"I've been impressed with them doing the related exercises and it also gives them a chance to earn prizes. The neatest thing is that after 30 minutes they don't realize they've just completed some very good cardio related workout and they were just having fun."

Penton also noted that "I've seen them learn many different areas that they are really good at that they didn't think they were. It has really boosted their confidence level."

Penton was made aware of the grant in November, 2016, applied for the grant this past spring, and the grant was awarded and the playground was recently completed.

The playground equipment is designed to build strength in areas of:

  • Abdominal

  • Cardiovascular

  • Cross Lateral Coordination

  • Flexibility

  • Lower Body

  • Upper Body

The playground area provides not only the equipment, signs displaying a Warm Up Station that give detailed instructions on stretches to do before using the equipment. After a workout or play time, there is a Cool Down Station with stretching instructions. And should a child slip from one of the bars, the area also provides a safe landing area of sand covered with several inches of fine mulch.

According to the Project Fit America website, the vast majority of our sponsors have been hospitals and healthcare organizations. Since our founding sponsorship drive we have raised over $14,508,000. As of 2017 this has resulted in the development of exemplary fitness programs in nearly 1,000 schools, 300 cities, 46 states with over 500,000 kids impacted.

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