Jump Rope for Heart was a fundraising and event program that for years was an annual events for elementary and middle schools around the world, with thousands of schools and millions of kids participating. The program raised more than $1.2 billion in the USA from 1978 to 2017.
In the USA, what for many years was known as Jump Rope for Heart has evolved into the Kids Heart Challenge, which still includes jump rope as a component. The Jump Rope for Heart concept is still practiced in many other countries, including:
- Australia, where more than 8 million kids have participated since 1983 - Australia Jump Rope for Heart Information.
- Canada, where more than 955,000 kids across Canada participated during the 2014/15 school year - Canada Jump Rope for Heart Information.
In the USA, the program is jointly sponsored by the American Heart Association and the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE), who provide support, materials, and fundraising tools for educators interested in putting on a Jump Rope for Heart program.
How Does it Work?
In short, Jump Rope for Heart was designed with four simple goals:
- Get kids active (by having them jump rope).
- Educate kids about their hearts, and heart-healthy habits.
- Raise money for cardiovascular research and outreach programs.
- Teach kids the value of community service.
The program did this by involving elementary and middle school kids in a 3-4 week “learn to jump rope” program, usually conducted during PE class, that culminates in a big demonstration or performance open to parents and the community. The gym and school were usually plastered with fun heart health posters and educational materials. Along the way, kids were encouraged to fundraise by asking friends and family for donations that will be sent to the American Heart Association (to support research and education programs).
Registering & Putting on an Event
Kids Heart Challenge / Jump Rope for Heart programs are typically led by PE teachers who register their school to host an event through the American Heart Association website (here’s the school sign up page). Events are often scheduled in February to coincide with American Heart Month, but can be done anytime during the year.
Once the school is registered, the American Heart Association sends over an event kit with everything needed to put on an event, including:
- Step-by-step instructions for promoting and organizing the event.
- Educational materials and lesson plans to support the 3-4 classroom week teaching unit, as well as materials to put up around the school.
- Jump ropes to use in their classrooms.
- Fundraising tools, tips, materials and outline.
Once registered, the teacher or coordinator sets a fundraising goal and begins reaching out to students and parents encouraging them to sign up and participate in the event. Every student has the ability to create an online profile and web page to help with fundraising. The secure site makes it easy send emails, share information and take online donations.
The event itself can be big or small, with some teachers doing a simple event during the PE class hour, while others host big after school events with demonstrations, competitions and jump rope routines (usually practiced by students during the preceding 3-4 weeks).