Desert Horizon Elementary Receives "Run for Something Better" ING Grant

There is nothing more rewarding to students than to set running goals and reach the finish line. That is exactly what K-8th grade students in the Desert Horizon Elementary's Running Club will do thanks to a $3500 grant received from ING's Run for Something Better Program. The Run for Something Better Program grant is sponsored by SHAPE America whose mission is to advance professional practice and promote research related to health and physical education, physical activity, dance and sport.

According to Terry Labrecque the author of the grant and 8th grade teacher at Desert Horizon School located in Phoenix, "I have been facilitating this running program for students at Desert Horizon School for 10 years. The grant will allow us to bring more focus on the runners themselves, provide needed material items for the financially challenged families and more interim rewards and recognition through the training process. The program is so successful that the number of runners has increased from only a handful when we first started the program to over 150 runners this past year. The program affords students a safe afterschool outlet that occupies their time in a healthy, self-esteem building and goal setting manner. When they cross the marathon finish line, they understand full well that any goal is possible with effort, dedication and determination.

Principal Suzanne Jaramillo shares her thoughts on the vital nature of what this means for her students, "What is amazing is the student improvement in behavior and academic performance. It is clearly significant, measurable and undeniable. The experience gained from accomplishing a seemingly unachievable goal (running 13.1 miles) is accomplished by breaking the pathway into achievable chunks, encouraging runners to do more each time, working with others in mutual support, and recognizing successes along the way."

Desert Horizon joins the prestigious group of sixty schools across the nation that has received Run for Something Better grants. This is the first year the school has received the grant and they hope to continue for years to come." For the Desert Horizon students, there is no better proof to the concept of running to reach their goal than getting out there and working at it, little by little improving stamina, conditioning, and the mental toughness needed to succeed. There is simply nothing as rewarding as that finish line!

Pendergast District Superintendent Dr. Lily Matos DeBlieux couldn't wait to share the great news. "As BEE-lievers in PESD, we encourage our staff to seek every opportunity to engage our students in rewarding activities that will positively impact their lives and establish lifelong relationships with active lifestyles. With childhood obesity rates reaching alarming rates in Arizona, running programs such as this set the tone for good health and bright futures for our Desert Horizon students."