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Motivating Community Fitness in Mattoon

Williams Elementary School
Mattoon, IL

Arland D. Williams Elementary School in Mattoon, IL is making fitness a priority for their students by offering variety and—most importantly—fun.

With the help of a $1,000 Game On grant from Action for Healthy Kids and Lumpkin Family Foundation, Arland D. Williams Elementary School was able to provide students with engaging ways to be physically active alongside their peers. The school established the “Williams Run Club” where students are given the opportunity to run, walk or jog in class at least once per week. During the Run Club days, they use their entire PE time to accumulate as many laps as time allows around the gym or outside around the school. The school purchased an EZ Scan system that allows students to count their laps using a unique QR code that is scanned each time the lap is completed.

Not only is the school leveraging technology to motivate students to be more active, they are also incentivizing students to meet certain milestones throughout the year. Williams students that reach the 10-mile mark receive a bracelet, and when they meet the 20-mile mark, they receive a t-shirt. The Game On Grant also enabled the school to purchase a bulletin board that helps to keep track of the mileage achieved by each student. There is no doubt this program has brought a new excitement to the students! Williams Elementary students look forward for Run Club days; student Tyler Haacke asked his teacher, “When are we doing the Run Club? I can’t wait to wear my shirt!”

All of the fitness and Run Club initiatives also support the school’s fundraising needs. The principal changed the primary fundraiser so that instead of selling pizzas, now the school community participates in a 5K/1 mile fun run. This event far exceeded the expectations from staff, who set a goal of having 150 student and family participants. Come race day, there were over 400 signed up and ready to go!

The excitement about these active initiatives has spread far and wide to include the parents. The school is getting ready to host a parent walk/run day during their students’ PE class.

Williams’ initiatives have not only had a lasting impact on the students and parents, but they have also gotten the attention of Senator Dale Righter. After learning more, Senator Righter noted, “This program is wonderful and will hopefully get kids interested in running and help out cross country programs!”

Arland D. Williams Elementary School has become a community leader in fitness, health and wellness. With the help of Action for Healthy Kids and the Lumpkin Family Foundation, the school was able to provide the resources needed to take their health and wellness program to the next level. Williams Elementary School looks to continue to build on their success over the next year with further program implementation!