A simple idea garnered big rewards for students and families at Minter Creek Elementary School in May.
The Minter Creek PTA fundraiser, spearheaded by Jessica Gamble, raised almost $10,000 in two weeks. “Dale Heidal and the fire department are the reason for our success. I can’t thank them enough,” Gamble said.
She also had praise for the 30 businesses, organizations and individuals that contributed in one way or another.
The goal was to raise funds for the school by sponsoring students to establish healthy habits, and to foster generosity, she said.
Students had the opportunity to focus on fitness and make a pledge to exercise for 30 minutes every day between April 22 and May 9. Each student who completed their pledge and turned in a daily record of their exercise time was invited to attend the culminating celebration May 10 even if they did not raise any money.
“After two years of disruption and isolation due to COVID-19, the PTA is in start-up mode,” Gamble said, “but there has been a plan developed for a multi-year fundraising goal that will support the positive learning environment.”
Although there are no explicit plans for how the funds will be used, the PTA did allocate 10% of the proceeds to the Minter Creek program run by Harmony Armendariz, the site director for Communities in Schools of Peninsula. Armendariz expressed gratitude to the community for the generous support and said the funds could be used for programs or curriculum that support social-emotional growth and basic needs for students supported by CISP.
The kick-off event was a visit by Key Peninsula firefighters. Lt. Heidal and Volunteer Battalion Chief Anne Nesbit recruited 15 volunteers from the department to work out with the kids and motivate them. About 40% of Minter Creek students participated.
On celebration day, the students who had exercised every day and turned in their daily record sheets were treated to a popsicle party with three of the firefighters who had been their main cheerleaders: Adam Morse, Ami Shipp and Heidal.
According to fourth-grader Brandon Pomeroy, the best part of the day was “the firefighters coming and getting to see all the cool things about the truck.”
“The biggest win for the firefighters was seeing the kids transition toward positive attitudes about health and fitness,” Heidal said.
“This was a great fundraiser and far exceeded expectations,” said Minter Creek Principal Todd Hering. He added that the most probable long-lasting effect of encouraging students to exercise is the realization that “exercise doesn’t mean just running and sports. There are so many other opportunities — playing tag with friends, being outside, gardening, just being active.”
Hering credited Gamble for proposing the idea and doing most of the fundraising work. Both expressed amazement at how the community works, and how supportive businesses, organizations and individuals were.
Gamble reported that the top sponsors were the Key Peninsula Professional Firefighters Local 3152, Brookside Veterinary Hospital, Community Health Care, and Purdy Cost Less Pharmacy.
“Move with Minter was a great experience,” said Jen Murphy, a mother of triplets. “Not only did it encourage the kids to get outside and get moving, it was a great lesson in putting in work to accomplish their goals. This was a great fundraiser and we are so happy to be a part of the Minter Creek community.”
Fourth-grader Harper Bows said the thing she liked best was “exercising with my family, my nana and my cousins.” Harper’s sister, third-grader, Scarlett, nodded in agreement.
Kindergartner Lucy Hostetler said the best thing about participating was, “exercising with my best friend, Heidi.” Heidi also happens to be her twin sister.
In June, the classes that raised the most money in each grade will attend a skate night donated by the Key Peninsula Civic Center.
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