Incline elementary students raise over $15K for heart association

Miranda Jacobson

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — New Incline Elementary School Physical Education Coach Jasmine Lance, or as the kids call her, Coach Jazz, wanted to bring a fundraising challenge that she had seen while previously working on the east coast called the Kids Heart Challenge.

After telling her students she had the idea to do her own fundraiser with the American Heart Association at the school, they were all for it.

Provided/Jasmine Lance

“It’s been amazing having the support of the kids in the community,” said Lance.

Through the student’s fundraising efforts and the Heart Raffle event that was held at the school, Lance said they were able to raise over $15,000. Their initial goal had only been $10,000, and every student that participated in fundraising received raffle tickets. Every student who raised over $250 got to pie Lance in the face.

She was pied 29 times.

Students who weren’t in the position to raise funds for their raffle tickets were able to earn raffle tickets from their teachers through acts of kindness, leadership or teamwork activities throughout the day.

Provided/Jasmine Lance

The top fundraising class earned their PE class twice a week for the rest of the school year, since the students only have the class once a week.

In the morning, there was a basketball tournament between the fourth and fifth grade classes, and Lance explained that each student was assigned a ‘grown up’ job in relation to the event.

“There’s a kid on their team that’s the coach or the referee or the captain or scorekeeper or athletic trainer,” said Lance.

The teams and leagues were formed weeks ago, and the students were intent to be successful in their positions, and didn’t require much direction to get to work every day.

Provided by Jasmine Lance

“They ran their whole league and for their final event for the Kids Heart Challenge, they did a final four, and the rest of the classes signs and they self-referred the whole thing and ran the scoreboard and they were the announcers on the microphones,” said Lance.

The second half of the day was reserved for the younger students, who got to participate at different fitness stations, like jump ropes, hula hoop stations, an a giant parachute. Parents were also able to participate.

“So the whole community participated,” said Lance. “It was really cool to see, especially with the new community, since I just came here.”

The American Heart Association is an organization that Lance feels passionately about working with, since she lost her father to heart attack 10 years ago.

“The mission just became real to me,” said Lance. Even though she had been doing the challenge before her loss, it changed her mindset on how she teaches her students.

“It makes PE become physical education rather than gym class to me. It teaches them how to take care of their bodies and how to be a leader in their family and how to teach their families to take care of themselves too.”

Lance believes that the program also helps teach students what it means to be their own leaders.

“It teaches them the skills to do it on their own for when they’re older,” said Lance. “It’s much different than having a bunch of adults dictate what they do. They get way more buy-in and participation when they get to feel accountable. They’re one-hundred percent capable.”

Some teachers were even surprised at the initiative taken by the students, who knew what to do through looking at their daily schedule before tending to the tasks they needed to do for the day.

“Kids are capable of some much awesome stuff from a young age and [the challenge and the tournament] gives them the opportunity to show that,” said Lance.

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