Fitness for Students at Virginia School Benefits from Longtime Partnership of Wellmont Foundation, Children’s Miracle Network and Project Fit

OCT. 5, 2017 | ATKINS, VA.

Students at Atkins Elementary School will benefit from additional exercise opportunities and fitness programming through a partnership designed to enhance their health.

Continuing a longtime relationship, Wellmont Foundation and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals have collaborated with Project Fit America to provide the school with a grant for the equipment and related curriculum materials.

These groups celebrated the initiative with students, faculty and staff during a ceremony, Friday, Sept. 29, at Atkins Elementary. As part of the event, officials held a ribbon cutting and students began using the exercise equipment.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with the school and provide valuable tools that will help these students follow a path to optimal health long term,” said Todd Norris, the foundation’s president and Wellmont Health System’s senior vice president for system advancement. “If we can help students develop beneficial habits such as exercise while they are young, we are decreasing the potential for the onset of illness and disease. That is a worthwhile achievement to pursue, and we are focused on providing the support needed to accomplish it.”

Gary Roberts, the school’s principal, said he is thrilled to have the equipment and curriculum items. He noted Ashley Canon, the physical education teacher tries to make that component of school interesting and enjoyable for students.

“The Project Fit youth grant initiative will be an excellent booster in our school’s efforts to encourage healthy lifestyles,” Roberts said. “Support from civic-minded organizations such as Wellmont, Children’s Miracle Network and Project Fit demonstrates the importance of children’s well-being to the community. They are making a positive difference in the lives of our students and providing valuable guidance on the way to lead healthy lives while having fun.”

Project Fit has worked with more than 1,000 schools in more than 300 cities in 46 states for 28 years. Stacey Cook, Project Fit’s executive director, highlighted the correlation between the exercise equipment and curriculum guides and performance in the classroom.

“Physically active children are better learners,” she said. “Quality fitness in education has a direct impact not only on a child’s health but their academic success. We are extremely proud of Wellmont Foundation and Children’s Miracle Network for their commitment to bring this program to the community and for their dedication to improving the health and wellness of children.”

The foundation has partnered with Project Fit, a national nonprofit charity, since 2000 and has raised the Children’s Miracle Network funds needed each year to buy fitness equipment for selected schools. Through this arrangement, Wellmont, Children’s Miracle Network and Project Fit have touched children’s lives at schools throughout the region.

Wellmont has been the Children’s Miracle Network affiliate for 30 years, and all money raised in Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee by this national organization remains in the region to strengthen children’s lives.

With these funds, Wellmont has made substantial investments in its facilities, including buying state-of-the-art equipment for the birthing units, neonatal intensive care unit, pediatrics departments and emergency departments. The connection with Children’s Miracle Network has also provided Wellmont with additional resources to fund partnerships with organizations in the community that work closely with children.