Igniting Young Hearts in Colorado through Kids Heart Challenge

The American Heart Association’s Kids Heart Challenge initiative is an educational program aimed at promoting physical and emotional well-being among elementary, middle and public-school students.

The American Heart Association’s Kids Heart Challenge program, which is rooted in proven science, educates students on their health while supporting the community through learning Hands-Only CPR, warning signs of a stroke and fundraising to continue the Association’s work in communities around Colorado.

Through engaging activities, resources, and materials, students gain a deeper understanding of the importance of taking care of their hearts and supporting research to combat heart disease.

In Colorado, we have three exciting updates to share around our Kids Heart Challenge program, which includes:

  • Jordan O’Connell, a 10th-grader of Colorado Springs has been selected to join the 2023-2024 national class of Youth Heart Ambassadors. While playing in a football game, Jordan went into cardiac arrest and was saved by bystander CPR and AED usage. Doctors discovered Jordan had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and placed an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) into his chest. If he were to have one wish granted, it would be for all school facilities to have access to AED machines and for all school staff to be certified in CPR.
  • Four schools throughout Colorado have been selected to receive grants funded by Kids Heart Challenge. The four schools that received the grants include Cesar Chavez Academy in Pueblo, Lake City Community School in Lake City, Midland Elementary School in Colorado Springs, and STRIVE Prep Ruby Hill in Denver. These grants will enable the schools to expand and enhance their existing health and wellness programs, reinforcing the importance of cardiovascular health and fitness. With these funds, the schools will be able to offer a wider range of activities and resources that encourage physical activity, proper nutrition, and overall well-being.
  • Michael Gaal superintendent of Colorado Springs District 11 was selected to serve as a national volunteer leader for the Association’s 2023-2024 national Superintendent Council. Gaal and nine other superintendents from across the country will work together to come up with tangible solutions to help schools combat issues that affect physical and mental well-being such as vaping and tobacco use, managing stress and healthy food access.

To learn more about Kids Heart Challenge and American Heart Challenge and how you can get involved, visit https://www.heart.org/en/professional/educator/school-programs.

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