Nicholson receives health resource funds

Grant allows school to target whole-body wellness


The American Heart Association’s school-based youth program, Kids Heart Challenge, awarded $2,390 to Meredith Nicholson Elementary School in Crawfordsville for a Minds in Motion activity program at the beginning of each school day.

The grant is one of just 64 awarded nationally for this cycle of the grant program that supports schools by funding resources to extend school wellness programs.

The American Heart Association is helping educators make whole-body wellness a priority by bringing more resources to school campuses. Grant recipients are able to expand their schools’ wellness offerings with additions such as physical activity equipment, water bottle filling stations and educator training opportunities on their campuses to encourage their students to stay healthy and active.

At Nicholson, phyiscal education teacher Laura Newman is using the grant to implement multiple programs, including a Minds in Motion program that includes 15 activity stations for students to rotate through when they arrive at school in the morning.

“Students who arrive by bus were often just sitting in the hallway for 20 minutes before school started,” Newman said. “This grant from the American Heart Association has allowed us to purchase resources to implement activities that stimulate learning and help with visual and auditory processing, motor skills and behavior.”

With deep roots in physical activity, Kids Heart Challenge has expanded beyond the gym to meet the needs of today’s youth and educators as science has proven the strong connection between physical and mental health. 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 mission to learn life-saving skills such as hands-only CPR.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, only 20% of kids get enough activity to meet physical activity recommendations. Kids Heart Challenge is rooted in proven science, which has shown that kids who are regularly active have a better chance of a healthy adulthood.

Funds raised by Kids Heart Challenge participants support the American Heart Association’s scientific research and outreach programs, paving the way for improved health outcomes for healthier communities. Schools are encouraged to register now for the 2022-23 school year. The program provides grant funding twice a year, mid-school year and year end, to provide resources in real time to students.  Since the grant program began in 2019, more than $1 million has been granted to schools to support projects that make schools healthier.

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