From Cake Walk to Bike Blender: Churning Up a New Type of Fundraiser
Like many schools, Monte Vista Elementary School depends on fundraisers throughout the year to maintain special programs and student activities. For a long time the Cake Walk was the school’s most popular fundraiser (participants purchase tickets to play a game like musical chairs and the winners take home a cake). Over the past few years, since the school joined the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program, the school wellness council decided that they wanted to work on replacing the cake walk with a fun and healthier alternative. When a parent brought forward the idea of the “Blender Bike,” everyone was thrilled.
With funds leftover from a Safe Routes to School grant, they purchased a bike blender attachment from a company called Rock the Bike. The attachment allows for foods to be blended (like a smoothie) with the rider providing the energy. A local nonprofit donated the bike and they were ready to ride! Although the wellness council researched and purchased the blender attachment, the PTO now acts as custodians of the bike, keeping the schedule and making sure that it is available to teachers and for fundraisers as needed. The bike has provided an opportunity to teach kids how to make healthy snacks that meets the Alliance Guidelines, to keep students physically active by using the bike in classes (as a reward) and to have a healthy fundraiser by selling small amounts of the smoothies at school events.
Physical education teacher Paula Jackson said that the bike has been a great addition to the school. “Students are associating riding a bike with rewards and fun, they have learned how to make a healthy snack and the school has a mobile fundraiser!” She goes on to say that the bike also offers an alternative to parents who want to bring something healthier in for birthday celebrations. They can bring the fruit, juice and yogurt to the classroom and the students can make the smoothies. They have even used it at a staff luncheon.
The bike blender complements the schools vast array of healthier fundraisers such as the PTA Fall BBQ and Health Fair where soda and unhealthy snack items have been swapped with water, vegetables and physical activity opportunities like a mobile climbing wall. Roller skating parties and swimming parties have replaced the cookie dough sales and the Jog-a-Thon alone brings in around $20,000 per year.