Kids Heart Challenge results at Chestnut Ridge!

For 26 years, students at Chestnut Ridge Elementary School have participated in the various healthy heart challenges, now known as the Kids Heart Challenge, benefitting the American Heart Association (AHA). For 2019, the school’s goal was a lofty $20,000. The students and their community exceeded it, raising $23,118 for the cause. This brings the total contributed by this one school to more than $280,000.

Students celebrated this impressive accomplishment, along with several other school-wide giving initiatives, on March 14 with special guest William Mitchell from the AHA’s Rochester chapter. Mitchell thanked the students and presented the school’s Honorary Heart Hero Hunter Gauger with his very own super hero cape. The top fundraising class (85% of the members contributed efforts to gather donations) was recognized and rewarded with the promise of a healthy snack party, made possible with a grant from Wegmans.

The Kids Heart Challenge is much more than fundraising for a great cause. It teaches children about heart healthy activities and is incorporated in physical education classes. “All of our students, from kindergarten to fourth grade, participate in the challenge,” said long-time program coordinator and PE teacher Brooke Elnicky. “They learn healthy habits, along with understanding and caring about others. It’s a fun way to build character and give children the tools they need to lead long and healthy lives.” 

Principal Kim Hale also thanked students for their contributions to another giving project that was based on an unusual event earlier in the year — a Day of Play. CRS students had the chance to spend one day playing a variety of board games with each other. They enjoyed it so much, they decided to pay it forward by collecting games to donate to other students so they, too might have a special day. Hale announced that students at Rochester’s Early Childhood School 57 are now excitedly planning their own Day of Play, thanks to 76 games donated by the CRS student population.

Other welcomed guests included Louis Buono and Kelli Harmor, the owner and the manager of the Chili Avenue McDonald’s restaurant. School staff, in conjunction with the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO), volunteered their time and many talents working at the restaurant for an evening, and Buono donated profits of almost $800 to benefit the school. It was another great civics lesson for students to see how people can make a real difference for their community. 

More than 3,000 schools nationwide participate in the AHA Kids Heart Challenge program. The events are fun, promote sports and fitness, educate students in the risks of heart disease and stroke, and help lay the groundwork for life-long community activism and volunteering. Churchville-Chili Central School District schools and students have been supporters for many years.

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