Small community students have great big hearts

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Mike Sloan (back) with his big hearted hoopsters from the Mammoth STEM School. John Hernandez | Miner

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Mike Sloan (back) with his big hearted hoopsters from San Manuel’s First Avenue Elementary School. John Hernandez | Miner

By John Hernandez

San Manuel Miner

Students from the Mammoth-San Manuel School District have been participating in a community service learning program that benefits others as well as themselves. The Hoops for Heart program is an educational and fundraising program that teaches kids the importance of developing heart-healthy habits, the fun of being physically active and that raising funds to support heart research helps save lives in their community as well as around the world. The kids learn basketball skills and how being physically active along with good nutrition can help them live longer healthier lives. It promotes community service and teaches children about helping others.

Hoops for Hearts is organized and managed by the American Heart Association. They partner with schools to educate children and raise money for cardiovascular research. The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association supports close to $12 million per year on pediatric research and millions more on the study of childhood obesity. Research funded by the American Heart Association has led to most of the major cardiovascular disease developments of the 20th century. These developments/discoveries include heart and brain medications, Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), AEDs, microsurgery, transplant technology, prevention measures and much more.

The Hoop for Hearts program was coordinated by Mike Sloan. Some of the fourth, fifth and sixth graders from First Avenue Elementary and Mammoth STEM school participated in the event. Participation in the fundraiser is voluntary. The students are divided into teams by classroom. There is one week of promoting the fundraiser and then a week where the kids raise money and shoot basketball free throws. In one week’s time the school raised $2,643. Mike said that Teresa Hogue, district representative was amazed at the amount that the community raised considering the economic times and size of the area. Usually schools this small raise five or six hundred dollars which is considered good. In three years the students of the Mammoth-San Manuel Unified School District have raised over $8,000.

The competition between classrooms was won by Parish’s fifth grade class. The competition included the amount of money raised plus the number of free throws made in a thirty minute period. Parish’s class was rewarded with a pizza party. The top fundraisers for First Avenue Elementary were Tori Medina, Reggie Romo and Vince Nguyen. The top fundraiser at Mammoth Elementary was Hannah Smallhouse. Mike Sloan said he would like to thank the community for their generosity. In a letter to the principal from the American Heart Association, they said, “We can’t continue to make a difference in people’s lives without the help of our students, their families and moreover, through our schools. Thank you!”

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