How can skipping rope help the American Heart Association? Kids across southeast Michigan – and the state and nation – demonstrate in February during the annual Jump Rope for Heart. They'll team up with their parents, schools and communities to raise money for the AHA this year.
Many schools events happen near Valentine's Day, says Cindie DeWolf, Michigan youth market director at the AHA. Kids work hard to raise funds in advance of the event. On its Jump Rope for Heart site, the AHA lets kids set up web pages – with parents' help and permission – and include a video or photo that they can email to friends and family to drum up support.
Various schools get involved ever year (check to see if your child's school might already be involved). In one case, it's a big district-wide effort: On Feb. 2, 2013, Huron Valley Schools' (pictured above) nine elementary schools join forces for a big event that's raised $250,000 since it started – this year, at Milford High School. Funds go to lifesaving research grants and education/awareness programs. Kids also learn about building their own healthy-heart habits.
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In the bigger picture, donations help the AHA in various ways. The biggest amount goes toward public health education, followed by research. For each dollar raised, 75 cents helps the AHA's 2,000 local community affiliates, mostly to help out mission-supporting programs like Heart Walks and Go Red for Women Luncheons. The other quarter goes to the AHA's national center. More specifically, the money supports volunteers, CPR classes – and loads of empowerment campaigns directed at specific groups, from stroke prevention information for Hispanic and African Americans to heart-disease awareness for women.