By Kristin Schultz
Having fun while helping others was the theme of the afternoon as students at Glencliff Elementary School participated in Jump Rope for Heart on May 4 to benefit the American Heart Association.
This was the third year that kindergartners through fifth-graders jumped and played the afternoon away while raising money.
Physical education teacher Blake Bellinger brought the annual event to Glencliff three years ago. Since then, the students have raised in excess of $25,000, including this year’s $5,500.
“We talk about doing things for the good of other people,” said Bellinger. “We’re also taking care of ourselves and being healthy by jumping rope.”
After school that day, half of the gymnasium was set up for jumping rope solo or with friends. There was also jumping on the other side of the gym at the standing high jump, standing long jump and vaulting box that Bellinger set up for the event.
The 95 students jumped and bounced for an hour. The event has drawn between 90 and 100 kids each year.
The money was raised online and face to face as students asked friends and family for donations.
“Everyone probably knows of someone who has had a heart-related issue,” said Bellinger, whose own father underwent triple bypass surgery and has since passed away.
The American Heart Association raises money for research and advocacy for heart-related conditions and diseases.
Bellinger has taught physical education in Niskayuna for 10 years, at first floating from school to school but has been exclusively at Glencliff for the past three years. He plans to organize the event again next year.
Hillside and Rosendale elementary schools also participated.