For my civic engagement project, I had chosen to volunteer for a program called “Jump Rope For Heart.” Jump Rope for Heart is an event sponsored by the American Heart Association to incorporate kids to be involved in the awareness of heart disease. Through Jump Rope For Heart, kids learn jump roping skills, the importance of their heart and how it functions, and they also raise money to help other kids with special hearts. The kids enjoy the event and at the same time they are educated on how to stay healthy and make a difference in other people’s lives.
Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. I can see there are more children overweight or obese than when I was growing up. In fact heart disease and heart related disease is one of the main causes of death. Today, there is a broad range of health problems we also find in kids that we previously would have only seen in adults. I believe that this is partly to blame the sedentary lifestyle and the availability of processed foods. I can also observe how the activity levels amongst the young have even changed.
A friend of mine, who lost her young child due to a congenital heart disease, first introduced me to this volunteer service earlier this year. Inspired by the many long sleepless nights in the hospital and the wishful prayers of hope to save his life. Only to later deal with the sorrow of the passing away of the child just a few months later. It was very tough on the family and even the community. I had a hard time understanding why an innocent child had to suffer through something so intense. Soon after, I lost an uncle to a sudden MI. He was only in his late 40’s at that time. Not only would his life impact our family, he would also leave behind two, young, teenage daughters to raise themselves without their dad around.
Then, a couple months ago, my son brought home a form from school that described this event that my friend had first introduced to me about. It was actually asking for volunteers for Jump Rope for Heart. As I read the flier, I was convinced that this would be something I would like to be involved in. I felt that even though I couldn’t make a drastic change in improving the quality of life of everyone in society, I could still create awareness to people, including kids of the importance of trying to eat healthy and to stay active. I strongly feel that the awareness should start early. At a young age, it is important to understand the lifestyle modifications that need to be made. After that first year I volunteered, I would get involved every year for the past 3 years, I have volunteered for the Jump Rope for Heart at Lexington Creek Elementary. I believe it can become hectic at times. There are over 300 kids that participate in this event. When this event takes place, there is a lot of planning and dedicated time that needs to be contributed to its success. Prior to this event, every child is encouraged to raise money from friends, family and loved one. They are encouraged to register on the website or to donate money. For every amount each child raises, they take a pledge to jump rope for that person. Usually, people will help the child to raise money so that the child cans jump rope in honor of a loved one or friend.
During my volunteer service, I was responsible for setting up stations for every grade in Lexington Creek Elementary. It is a one-day event that divides up each grade level into different timings where they were supposed to participate in a jump roping activity. There is stations set up; each station is set with cones in front of it. A jump rope is set up in front of the row, and students for each grade level line up behind the cones. Water bottles were also labeled and handed out to each child. It is important to help keep the children hydrated during this exercise activity. For set intervals, each child takes the jump rope and jumps for the amount of time pledged