Connellsville Area students 1st to hop aboard fundraiser
Julianna Lott was only 2 1⁄2 years old when she first became a big sister.
She still remembers her excitement over baby brother Kellen's arrival in 2006, said her mother, Jennifer Keller-Lott.
Kellen was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, and lived for only one week.
Julianna, now 9 and a third-grade student at Bullskin Township Elementary School, honors her brother's memory by participating in the American Heart Association fundraiser Jump Rope for Heart.
“We did the Heart Walk one year, then she started jumping rope. She is very proud to get to do this for him,” Keller-Lott said.
The first year Julianna raised $1,350.
Her family promotes the fundraiser through Facebook posts and fliers at Connellsville's Highlands Hospital, where her father, Jaron Lott, is employed.
Julianna also has a 3-year-old, brother, Keegan.
Julianna, whose fundraising efforts earned her the title of Heart Hero, will again jump during her school's Jump Rope for Heart event.
As part of a pilot program, the American Heart Association is partnering with a school district in an effort to both raise funds and educate the students and community.
“Connellsville Area School District is the first to jump on board,” said Kelly Wilding, heart association youth market director.
The goal is a communitywide focus on heart healthy wellness activities, with teacher resource guides and an emphasis on the aspect of fun that exercise can provide.
Heart disease is the number one cause of death in America, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Heart association statistics show nearly one in three American children and teens are overweight or obese.
“That is one of the core reasons to focus on a districtwide initiative,” Wilding said.
Related health problems, including high blood pressure and diabetes, can result.
“This is the first generation (projected) to have a shorter life expectancy than the one before,” Wilding said.
Physical activity can help to reverse that trend, the association states.
Last year's school events sponsored in the Connellsville community generated $24,402.
This year's fund-raising goal is $25,000, Wilding said.
“Connellsville Area School District has raised over $200,000 in the last 10 years,” Wilding said.
“Our faculty is terrific when it comes to raising money for worthy causes. They get the kids involved, educate them about the cause,” said district superintendent Dr. Daniel Lujetic.
Noting his own family and friends' families have experienced heart disease, Lujetic said heart health education is an issue the district wants to address with students.
New this year is participation in Friday's National Wear Red Day.
Faculty and staff purchased red shirts with the “Rock the Beat” logo. Through Wednesday, sales of the $10 T-shirts had raised $1,800, Wilding said.
Students also are encouraged to don red on Friday.
At Connellsville Township Elementary on Thursday, the Mountain View Wildcats Jump Rope Team performed numerous jump rope exercises to promote healthy lifestyles. The program, held in partnership with the American Heart Association and Latrobe School District, was led by coach Sharon Argenta, with Mt. View Elementary.
Over the next few months, CASD students will be provided with informational material explaining how the heart works, the importance of proper nutrition, and easy ways to incorporate physical activity into every day.
Elementary students will once again raise money through Jump Rope for Heart events at their individual schools.
“Hoops For Heart” sport events will allow secondary students to earn prizes through collecting fund-raising pledges.
Depending on how much money is raised, districts can earn gift certificates redeemable for physical education equipment through the heart association's partnership with US Games, Wilding said.
Visitors to the district's website, casdfalcons.org, can view heart healthy recipes, educational information and make donations.
Students — and the public — can learn how to perform Hands-Only CPR at the website www.heart.org/handsonlycpr.
Mary Pickels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-5401 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Air conditioner replaced at Fayette County’s jail annex
- Connellsville area poverty simulation opens people’s eyes
- Connellsville considers axing paid firefighters
- Longtime Connellsville area business closes its doors
- 3 men to stand trial over runaway Latrobe foster children
- Sirochman: Fayette genealogy workshop planned for Wednesday
- Albert Gallatin bus driver pleads guilty to sexual assault
- Fayette communities come together on forming land bank
- Man held for trial in dragging of Redstone cop