George L. Cooke Elementary & Kenneth L. Rutherford Elementary awarded grants from Sullivan 180

silhouette of person doing a standing yoga post with the sunset in the background

New year, new goals. Good health is often a new year goal set by many. Recently, George L. Cooke Elementary and Kenneth L. Rutherford Elementary have been awarded grants from Sullivan 180 for projects focused on improving the health and well-being of students and staff. Projects include increasing movement indoors and outdoors, mindfulness curriculums, activity sets, and more. 

There are many plans for the $3,000 grant awarded to Cooke Elementary. One initiative the school’s Healthier Generations Club intends to use the funds for is to purchase outerwear (coats, boots, gloves, hats) for students who do not have them in school. These items are not only essential for the winter season, but they enable students to participate in outside recess with their peers. In addition, the club plans to purchase playground stencils, extra supplies, and a shed to store the extra supplies, according to club advisor Elisa Mendels. Furthermore, the grant has led to the establishment of a Wellness Club at Cooke, composed of nine staff members tasked with creating wellness initiatives for staff and students. One of those initiatives includes mindfulness curriculums where teachers can utilize chimes and “breathing balls” to practice mindfulness with students during the school day. 

At Rutherford Elementary, the $3,000 grant from Sullivan 180 will be used for their project called “Our Backyard”, submitted by fifth grade teacher Kayleigh Bowles. “Our Backyard” is a project aimed at increasing movement in the learning process, both indoors and outdoors. The funds from the grant will be used to purchase a “performer pack” of materials such as an equipment cart, activity sets, hula hoops, pool paint, hoop jumpers, jump ropes, activity classroom cards, shipping/handling, yoga mats, bird baths, welcome benches and hoses. The goal is to not only increase student movement, but to also enhance the already existing garden structure and bring awareness to the space as an outdoor learning center. 

These empowering Healthier Generation Projects were made possible with support from Sullivan Renaissance and Sullivan 180, with funding from the Rowley Foundation. Sullivan 180 is a non-profit organization that “champions for healthy change and community vitality. Turning around the health of Sullivan County one degree at a time.” The organization works with various school districts in Sullivan County through their “Healthier Generations” program. Each school applies for grants from Sullivan 180 to help with services or programs designed to improve the health of students and staff.

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