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Elementary School Raises Funds Through Fitness, Not Food

The Need

Principal Tony Swan is the perfect example of walking the talk. A marathon runner in his own life, he has spread his passion for health and wellness throughout his school and community in rural Oregon. When Swan took over as principal of Fairview Elementary he learned that students could purchase beef jerky during the school day from the office. As Swan became more involved with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program he realized that this was sending the wrong message to students about food and competing with the school lunch program.

The Solution

Swan and his wellness council decided to remove all snack food and beverages available to students and to replace the annual chocolate bar fundraiser with a walk-a-thon. They asked students to collect pledges for laps walked and encouraged families to get involved. The event takes place on the high school track and there is a friendly competition between classes. Classes that walk the most earn an active prize like a roller skating party.

The Outcome

Fairview’s efforts to take out the junk food have led to a healthier school as well as raising 40 percent more than they did through the chocolate and beef jerky sales. Now that is something to chew on!

Tony’s Recipe for Success:

  1. Start small. Make one change at a time, celebrate your success and then move on to the next challenge.
  2. Walk the talk. Tony’s passion for health and wellness has rubbed off on the whole school!
  3. Communicate and build partnerships with your community. The walk-a-thon has become a community event which has increased revenue.
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