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APS students benefiting from donation

1/16/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Maria Lindsay

WEST AKRON — Students at 10 Akron Public School District elementary schools will learn about health and wellness thanks to this year’s Kohl’s Community Fitness Program donation of $225,414 to Akron Children’s Hospital.

According to hospital officials, the 2014 program will focus on providing fitness education in Akron Public Schools and schools in the Mahoning Valley, where Akron Children’s has other sites.

“This is a good fit with our effort to improve children’s health and [reduce] childhood obesity,” said John Zoilo, executive director of the Akron Children’s Hospital Foundation and vice president of development.

Zoilo accepted an oversized check from Bill Schutte, vice president and Northeast Ohio district manager for Kohl’s, during a presentation at Case Elementary School Jan. 9. Shown at right top is Schutte, at left, and Zoilo during the presentation.

According to Schutte, the funds for the program come from the sales of children’s books that are sold, along with plush animals, in area department stores. Department store associates also donated funds for the program, he added.

According to Mary Douglas, director of grants and administration for Akron Children’s, funds from the donation will be used to provide curriculum-based activities on fitness education that include lessons focused on nutrition, healthy eating and physical activity. Douglas said the hospital’s Sports Medicine Division partners with the schools to develop the activities.

After the presentation, students at Case, who watched the presentation, were able to participate in several activity stations.

Shown at right bottom are students using hula hoops at one station.

In another station, pictured below, students discuss healthy eating habits.

Students also rolled large cloth dice that offered a variety of exercises for them to perform. Shown above are students doing pushups after one roll.

Program officials will return to the schools three to four times during the school year to keep students engaged in fitness and health efforts, according to Douglas. Students also will be provided with fitness challenges they can do at home and materials for parents to encourage healthy lifestyles in a backpack they bring home that includes a jump rope, move band (which works similar to a pedometer) and a water bottle.

To date, Kohl’s has donated $3.5 million to Akron Children’s Hospital through Kohl’s Cares®, according to Schutte.

— By Maria Lindsay

Photos: Maria Lindsay

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