Students at Canberra Girls Grammar School will have a special person in mind when they stage their annual Jump Rope for Heart “Jump Off” this morning.
On 20 July last year, the school lost a much-loved member of its community when chaplain, The Reverend Dr David Willsher, died after suffering a heart attack. Dr Willsher, who was also a history teacher at the school, was just 62.
“Dr Willsher has certainly been on our minds while doing the Jump Rope program this term,” said the school’s Jump Rope for Heart coordinator and Year 5 teacher, Richard Bond.
“The students have still had a lot of fun skipping and learning tricks, but this also brought home to them why we should take good care of our hearts. It opened conversations about why it’s so important to find new ways to prevent and treat heart disease.”
Jump Rope for Heart is the Heart Foundation’s skipping and fundraising program run in Australian schools throughout the year. It encourages kids to have a positive attitude towards exercise, healthy eating and heart health, while raising vital funds to fight heart disease.
Canberra Girls Grammar School is a long-time supporter of the program. This is the sixth year the school has taken part, raising more than $50,000 for the Heart Foundation.
In 2020 alone, the school has raised more than $11,000, making it the fifth-highest fundraising school nationally so far this year. This is an amazing feat, especially considering only a single year group at the school (Year 5) does the program. (You can find the school’s Jump Rope for Heart page here.)
Schools that participate in Jump Rope mark the end of the program with a Jump Off Day. This gives students a chance to show off the skipping skills they have learned throughout the term.
“We are extremely grateful for Canberra Girls Grammar School’s ongoing support of our Jump Rope program, and can’t wait to see all their new skills and tricks today,” said Meg Ryan, the Heart Foundation’s Senior Coordinator – Support and Care, who is based in the charity’s ACT office.
“As these students discovered, Jump Rope for Heart is lots of fun and great exercise, but it also helps the Heart Foundation in its important work funding lifesaving research and health projects.
“Heart Foundation-funded research has helped make significant advances in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of heart disease over the past six decades.”
This year has posed some challenges for the Jump Rope for Heart program, with the coronavirus pandemic disrupting schools across the country, Ms Ryan said.
“In response, we have developed new ways to engage with teachers, kids and parents,” she said. “This includes some terrific online videos about skipping and heart health, as well as instructional videos on how to do neat tricks like the ‘Criss Cross’ and the ‘Awesome Annie’.”
Jump Rope for Heart is one of Australia’s favourite school activity programs, inspiring kids to embrace skipping as a fun way to get active.
Since the program’s inception in 1983, more than 10 million Australian kids and more than 90 per cent of Aussie schools have taken part in Jump Rope for Heart.
In that time, schools have raised awareness and more than $104 million to help the Heart Foundation fight heart disease – Australia’s single leading cause of death.
A total of 198 Australian schools participated in the Jump Rope for Heart program in Term Two. So far, about 440 have signed up for Term Three.
Teachers who are interested in registering their school for Jump Rope for Heart can sign up here.