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WEST GOSHEN — Students in the West Chester Area School District have been jumping rope, playing volleyball and having school-wide basketball tournaments, all in the name of raising money to support the American Heart Association.
Since starting the fundraising efforts across the district, West Chester has donated thousands of dollars each year to the nonprofit organization.
“I’m very proud to announce that the West Chester Area School District has been working very closely with the American Heart Association,” said Superintendent Jim Scanlon. “Our district has been raising money for the American Heart Association for the past 20 years.”
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Last year alone, the combined efforts of the elementary and middle schools raised $114,000.
In recognition of all the hard work and countless contributions, the American Heart Association attended the district’s monthly school board meeting on Nov. 23 to present an award.
“This past school year, 10 schools across your district participated in Jump Rope for Heart, Hoops for Heart or Volleyball for Heart events,” said Ashley Schade, vice president of the Youth Market of the American Heart Association.
The $114,000 donated in the 2014-15 school year was over $25,000 more than West Chester raised the previous year.
“We are just so grateful and so thankful for your support at the district level,” Schade said to the school board. “The leadership and time the teachers have put into the schools, along with the families and the students participating in these programs.”
In fact, the amount of money raised by the district has topped all others in the Commonwealth.
“What is increasingly exciting and what we are so thankful for is that the West Chester Area School District is the No. 1 school district for fundraising in the Youth Market Programs across the entire state of Pennsylvania,” Schade said.
Schade, along with two other representatives from the American Heart Association, presented a plaque to the district as a thanks and in acknowledgement for everything West Chester has done.
Though West Chester has been donating money to the organization, it has been receiving a form of thanks in return as well.
“The fundraising that your students, faculty and community has done has resulted in the American Heart Association giving back to your schools almost $7,000 worth of … P.E. equipment and playground equipment,” Schade said.
The American Heart Association uses the money as part of its 2020 Impact Goal, which is to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent while also reducing deaths from heart disease and stroke by 20 percent.
“I’m humbled by your consistent commitment and success to our shared mission,” said Ken Margulies, board president of the American Heart Association. “The dollars yours students, families and teachers help to raise support, more than anything, research and education.”
Not only that, but all the fundraising efforts also teaches the students healthy living for themselves and their families, such as the effects of smoking and the importance of eating fruits and vegetables, getting plenty of sleep and drinking water instead of sugary drinks.
“(It’s) things that, in the long run, promote the kind of outcomes we want,” said Margulies, who is also a professor of medicine at the Penn Cardiovascular Institute.
Over all the years of heart-focused fundraising, the district has collected and donated an astounding amount of money to the American Heart Association – a total which brought an audible gasp of amazement from people seated in the room.
“In your district since 1999, your families have donated a total of $1,110,265, which is amazing,” Schade said. “We really, really thank you.”