New year brings funding to boost health in schools


(NewMediaWire) – January 16, 2024 – DALLAS — In an effort to improve the health and well-being of youth, the American Heart Association, a global force for healthier lives for all, today awarded seven schools national grants to enhance school wellness programs. The grants are a part of the Association’s Kids Heart Challenge™ and American Heart Challenge™ school-based programs that provide age-appropriate curriculum to educate students about healthy living to help them grow to reach their full potential. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), more than 20% of children and adolescents have obesity, which is defined as having a BMI at or above the 95th percentile for children and teens of the same age and sex, and only about one-fourth get the recommended 60 minutes a day of physical activity.  

The Kids Heart Challenge and American Heart Challenge financial grants will help local educators make whole-body wellness a priority by bringing more health resources to school campuses. Grant recipients are now able to expand their schools’ wellness offerings with additions such as physical activity equipment, new technology and educator training opportunities on their campuses.

“These grants play a critical role in providing new, innovative resources to help schools prioritize health and well-being,” said Marsha Jones, current volunteer board chairperson for the American Heart Association and former executive vice president and chief diversity officer for The PNC Financial Services Group. “As the American Heart Association enters its second century of lifesaving work, we will boldly continue our commitment to improve the health of youth by meeting students where they are through in-school offerings that support mental and physical wellness”.  

The application process was open to all schools who participated in the school-based programs in the fall of 2023. Grants are awarded twice a year, in January and July. The next application deadline is May 31. January 2024 Grant recipients include:

  • Beacon Academy in Crystal, Minnesota $2,500 for staff wellness resources
  • Benner Elementary School in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania $2,055 for physical activity equipment
  • Cantrall Elementary School in Cantrall, Illinois $2500 for physical activity equipment
  • James L Dewar Elementary School in Valdosta, Georgia $433 for technology
  • North Sanpete Middle School in Moroni, Utah $2,500 for physical equipment
  • Pleasant Glade Elementary in Lacey, Washington $1,000 for physical equipment
  • Sorrento Primary in Sorrento, Louisiana $2,406 for physical activity equipment

Both the Kids Heart Challenge and American Heart Challenge are rooted in proven science, which has shown that kids who are regularly active have a better chance of a healthy adulthood[1]. Kids Heart Challenge offers a variety of physical activities to get elementary students’ hearts pumping such as dance, basketball or jumping rope paired with digital missions to learn life-saving skills like Hands-Only CPR™. The American Heart Challenge is a service-learning program for middle and high school students. The program also helps boost heart health and self-esteem, while reducing stress and anxiety through programs featuring yoga, dance and obstacle courses. Both programs’ curriculums help prepare kids for success by supporting physical and emotional well-being, while offering new learning resources and physical activities to meet the needs of today’s youth and educators.

To learn more about the American Heart Association’s kids initiatives, or to make a financial donation, please visit  


About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for a century. During 2024 – our Centennial year – we celebrate our rich 100-year history and accomplishments. As we forge ahead into our second century of bold discovery and impact our vision is to advance health and hope for everyone, everywhere. Connect with us on, Facebook, X or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

For Media Inquiries: 214-706-1173

Megan Ramsey: 980-613-9066;

Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721) and


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