On February 9th Rockford elementary schools gathered together to celebrate Jump Rope for Heart, where they raised over $14,000.
Rebecca Loker, a 4th grader at Rougewood Elementary, raised the most money this year with a total of $1,165. She has been participating in Jump Rope for Heart for two years and said, “I enjoy raising the money because I know it is helping other people.”
Jump Rope for Heart has been around since the 1970s and in Rockford for the past 19 years. All of the profits go directly to the American Heart Association. It is used to educate children on the importance of staying heart healthy and also benefits the research that the organization needs.
In the 2012-2013 school year over 14 thousand dollars was raised at the Rockford event. The accumulative total for Rockford over the past 19 years is around $325,000.
Timothy Farrell, Parkside’s gym teacher and emcee of the event, said, “My guess is about 95% is raised by students alone.”
Parents can help get donations, but are not required. The program is driven by student participation.
Originally Loker’s goal was $900 and when she surpassed it she pushed it to $1000, which would double her last years total.
“I was really surprised I raised that much. One person donated $400 and I didn’t even know them” she said.
Although, it is a student led fundraiser it still takes a large amount of preparation.
As emcee Farrell has a big responsibility. He must distribute the pre-event packets, such as permission forms, parent information guides, and communication tools to keep in touch with the 6 other physical education teachers he works with.
“The most challenging part is trying to juggle busy schedules as teachers to get the event organized,” said Farrell.
Farrell has been emcee for 15 years and said, “It does not surprise me with how much money was raised. Most recently the students have raised between $14,000-$18,000 per year.”
He said, “I believe the American Heart Association is a reputable organization and that makes people comfortable in giving to the cause.”
Next year Loker’s goal will be set around $1000-$1500. She said the lesson Jump Rope for Heart has taught her is, “Even if you raise only $1 or $2 you are still helping out.”