Project Fit America grant funds exercise equipment at Roosevelt
By Rick Wagner
Published October 2nd, 2009
KINGSPORT — It may be a cliche, but the
third time was the charm for a local elementary school physical
education teacher seeking exercise equipment for her school.
And 13 turned out to be a lucky number for the school.
Roosevelt Elementary School on Friday celebrated the receipt
of an $18,000 grant from the Wellmont Foundation through
Project Fit America.
The school was the 13th in the region to receive a grant
from the Wellmont Foundation, which provides money for Project
Fit America in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.
Lauren Hall, assistant director of development for the Wellmont
Foundation, said Project Fit America chooses the winning
applicant each year. Roosevelt and the other 12 schools serve
about 15,000 children.
“It’s like an outdoor weight room,” physical
education teacher Rebecca Good said after the ceremony.
With sedentary lifestyles the norm, Good said the program
emphasizes upper body strength, lower body strength and cardiovascular
The $18,000 grant paid for the outdoor equipment, indoor
equipment and training for students and teachers on how to
use the equipment and program.
Students demonstrated the outdoor equipment — parallel
bars, horizontal ladder (monkey bars), sit-up bench, pull-up
bars, pole climb, warm-up and step-up. The exercise area
is cushioned by rubber mulch from recycled automobile tires.
Teachers also demonstrated weighted hula hoops in an event
called the hubba bubba, won by teacher Marti Harrison.
Fifth-grader James Buchanan said Project Fit America means “good
sportsmanship, fun activities and a healthy body.” As
a football player and ballet dancer for five years and a
baseball player, he said it helps him with conditioning for
muscles and with endurance. Principal Mike Fulkerson said
the program and equipment will encourage students to make “activity, fitness and health
a part of their everyday school experience.”
Vice Mayor Ben Mallicote
said the program was appropriate for Roosevelt since its
namesake, early 20th century President Theodore Roosevelt,
was a champion of physical activity. “A
healthy body can help lead to a healthy mind,” Superintendent
Richard Kitzmiller said, adding that a healthy mind and body
can help one have a successful life.
Kingsport Board of Education President Susan Lodal urged
students to exercise and eat well and get out and get physically
active during next week’s fall break.
Project Fit America is a national nonprofit public charity
dedicated to getting kids fit.
Included in the Project Fit
America program are activities to address students’ self-esteem,
smoking intervention, fitness as fun, exercise, and understanding
The goal for students is to take personal responsibility
for their health.
In addition, the program helps teachers to defuse aggressive
behavior in children through physical activities that cause
the children to be more inclined to sit, listen and learn
in the classroom.
Since 1990, Project Fit America’s sponsorship drive
has generated $7.5 million in funding and resulted in the
development of more than 600 school fitness programs in 250
cities in 40 states. The majority of program sponsors have
been hospitals and health care providers. Wellmont Health
System serves as the regional affiliate for Children’s