A Fit to Learn grad offers healthy fundraising tips.
Mary Aillon, a physical education teacher at Pasteur Elementary School in Chicago, never did candy fundraisers, but after participating in Healthy Schools Campaign’s Fit to Learn professional development program, she doubled down on her efforts to incorporate health and wellness into every aspect of her school. “It all started with Fit to Learn and making the school a healthy school,” she said. “ From that point on, I just kept doing stuff.”
Fit to Learn is a free program offered by HSC for Chicago educators to help integrate nutrition and fitness into everyday classroom subjects, while meeting state educational standards. Because we know that healthy students are better learners, the goal of Fit to Learn is to make healthy habits a routine part of how kids learn. The program offers resources to help schools meet their physical activity goals, help students learn about good nutrition through fun and creative activities, increase staff knowledge on personal health and wellness, and more!
When schools provide healthy choices for fundraising, they send positive, consistent messages about the importance of good nutrition and physical activity. Mary helps do that with her creative and healthy fundraisers. One example Mary keeps going back to is selling Why Ties, a type of shoelace that doesn’t involve tying knots, which makes it easier for younger students to lace up their shoes. The ties come in different colors, and the school gets to keep half the money raised from sales. In the past, Mary has raised $2,500 for the gym from these fundraisers. And the best part? They encourage students to be active with their cool new shoelaces.
Last September, Mary helped organize the school’s first walkathon, which raised more than $6,000 for new basketball hoops. It’s important that the fundraiser reflects the fundraising goal, she said. It just wouldn’t make sense to sell candy to raise money for fitness equipment such as basketball hoops. At the end of the month, Mary hopes to do the school’s first Zumba-thon fundraiser.
Mary also seeks out and works with different partners to bring resources to her school, many of which she learned of through the Fit to Learn program. Although Mary was always interested in adding health and wellness activities to Pasteur, she says that when she became her school’s wellness champion during the 2011-2012 school year, she really kicked into full gear. Fit to Learn has provided her with great resources and ideas to improve the health of her school.
Interested bringing Fit to Learn to your school? We’re recruiting now for our summer Fit to Learn session, which starts in August. Registration is now open, but space is limited, so teachers are encouraged to sign up right away.