by Lisa Tome
It didn't take new Bainbridge Elementary school gym teacher Katelyn Guns long to learn the ropes.
Guns, a first year teacher, was exposed to the American Heart Association fundraiser while training to be a teacher. But last Thursday's Jump Rope for Heart at Bainbridge was her first time overseeing the event.
"In the past, they raised about $6,000. Our goal is $7,000. They have one more week to raise funds," said Guns, who said the focus this year was for students to raise money by way of online donations. "Cash donations have come in," said Guns.
Guns explained the Jump Rope for Heart stations which she had set up were designed to get children excited about raising money for the heart association and also about exercise. The stations included relay races, hula hoop or jump rope, knockout basketball, hurdle jumping, and jumping for height.
"We've got good jumpers. They've been jumping rope for three weeks and are doing surprisingly well," said Guns. And just in time for the Olympics, students could earn their own bronze, silver, or gold medal for jumping consistently. For 20, 30, or 50 jump achievers, their names will be placed on a wall in the school's gym.
And jumping rope isn't just for big kids. Guns said that even the school's youngest student, pre-K, can play the snake game with a rope and are graduating to traditional jumping.
While the event is designed to be fun, Guns explained that fundraising for the American Heart Association is serious. She worked to explain the work of the organization to the students. "We have students in our own school with heart problems," she said. "Five dollars for the heart association can teach 100 people CPR. We are also donating to training (CPR) teachers."
Guns also use the opportunity to stress the importance of a lifetime of exercise, 60 minutes every day. "We do have a lot of sitting (among students). It's very difficult. A lot of students don't have space (to play). But jump rope doesn't take a lot of space," she said. "I've been trying to teach them to get their heart rate up. Jump rope is a small, inexpensive and easy piece of equipment. They've been very excited about Jump Rope for Heart. They can't wait."
Those who raise money for the cause get the chance to earn prizes. For $1,000 raised, students can win a camera.
There are smaller prizes such as t-shirts, jump ropes, a playground ball and more.
As of last week, with donations still coming in, Bainbridge top fundraisers are fourth grader Adrianna Deplitch, second grader Serafina Deplitch, and second grader Samuel White.