Unmixing the message

By on October 8, 2010

Photo: The Get Movin’ mascot, Movin’ Max, encourages the kids as they participate in the All School Fun Run at John Shields Elementary School on Sept. 29. Photo by John DiDonna

PTO holds Fun Run instead of candy sales fundraiser
by Lynn Meredith
SUGAR GROVE—Instead of selling candy or other catalog items for its fundraiser this year, the John Shields Elementary School PTO sponsored a Fun Run on Sept. 29. More than 600 students participated, from kindergarteners through fifth-graders.

“We are trying to get away from the mixed message we felt we were sending,” PTO member Laura Sigrist said. “There is a healthy message being promoted in the schools, yet we were selling candy and other unhealthy items.”

This year, rather than asking friends and neighbors to buy something, the students asked them to sponsor an activity.

Every child in the school participated in the Fun Run, whether they collected pledges or not. They all received wristbands as a souvenir. Those who collected $50 before the event received a pedometer to wear the day of the race.

“Over 100 kids made the goal,” said Amy Sullivan, fundraising vice president. “Our goal was to raise $17,500, and we think we made $13,000.”

Each hour on the day of the event, a different grade came out to the fields behind the school to join in the fun. The Original Get Moving Crew, based in Milford, Mich., provided music and motivation. They began with a lively warm-up including the Cha-cha Slide, led by volunteers, and Fun Run Max, led by a character dressed as a yellow cheetah with black spots.

When the race began, the students started sprinting around the marked-out course.

“It gets them excited about moving,” John Shields physical education teacher Lorrie Hamblen said. “It’s been fun. The kids are excited. They are making their brains stronger. Exercise grows brain cells.”

Luke Weetz, a fourth-grader, enjoyed the event.

“I like it because we get to exercise,” he said. “Lots of kids don’t like to run in gym class.”

Fun Runs are catching on in the area. McDole will host one next month. Bryan Lederhouse of the Get Moving Crew said the company will coordinate 14 events in the Chicago area this fall.

“What really makes it great as a PTO fundraiser is that we take care of the leg-work,” Lederhouse said. “We use some volunteers, but they don’t have to pull the event together. I can’t believe schools wouldn’t want to do it.”

The John Shields PTO will use the money the students raised at the Fun Run to help pay for Family Fun Knights Out.