There’s nothing quite like the sound of several hundred elementary school students running for a good cause.
Carolina Forest Elementary held its Boosterthon Fun Run Thursday morning to celebrate the final days of a fitness education and fund-raising program. Boosterthon, a national program, raises money for schools through monetary pledges for every lap a student can run in the “Fun Run.” Boosterthon also educates students on fitness and character development during the 9-day program.
“Our goal is to not only increase funds for a school but to inspire fitness,” said Mark Rhodes, general manager of the Coastal Boosterthon branch based in Charleston. “For us, it’s about changing the world through students.”
Students are taught lessons based on the program’s four core values: integrity; leadership, enthusiasm; and results. These traits, along with lessons in lifelong fitness, develop healthy habits at a young age.
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“What we’re doing is really working and it really matters,” Rhodes said. “You can see it on the student’s faces.”
Students ran laps around the gym – ducking underneath an inflatable tunnel and dodging colored traffic cones – while parents and teachers cheered. Students collected pledges from friends and family for every finished lap.
“We’re still raising money, but this way the kids don’t have to go door-to-door selling anything,” said Shannon Frawley, Carolina Forest Elementary’s parent teacher organization vice-president.
This is the first year Carolina Forest has used the Boosterthon program to raise funds, Frawley said, and so far students have raised about $14,000. A total raised will be calculated about mid March. Last year’s traditional cookie dough fundraiser drew about $16,000.
“They’re learning about fitness and important character traits, like integrity and affirming people with your words,” Frawley said. “This is so much better than selling cookies.”
The money raised goes toward building shade shelters in the school’s playground, Trish Lund, PTO president, said. The shading equipment, which includes tables and umbrellas, should cost around $20,000, Lund said.
Schools can choose how involved Boosterthon staff are in the program. Administrators can run the events completely by themselves, receive help from Boosterthon staff during the pep rally and fun run, or allow the Boosterthon team to run every event and teach all the fitness lessons.
Carolina Forest Elementary decided on the most-involved package.
“Even now, knowing what we know, we would still choose the all-in package,” Lund said. “The teachers and parents hardly had to do anything, and we still raised money.”
Money wasn’t the only thing raised by the Boosterthon team.
“The kids are more pumped up about this than I’ve ever seen,” Lund said. “It’s high-energy, but they are loving it.”