February 12, 2015
Contact: Paula Keyes Kun
The following news release is shared on behalf of SHAPE America. Congratulations to Aurora’s Nicole Whittemore for being one of SHAPE America’s 2015 Jump Rope For Heart grant recipients.
RESTON, VA, February 11, 2015 – Nicole Whittemore, a physical education teacher at Aurora Elementary School, is receiving one of only 13 national Jump Rope For Heart/Hoops For Heart (JRFH/HFH) grants given from SHAPE America – Society of Health and Physical Educators. Whittemore will be recognized on March 19 at an awards ceremony during the SHAPE America National Convention & Expo in Seattle, March 17-21. Whittemore will be hold her JRFH event February 27.
Recipients are recognized for their passion and commitment for physical education and the JRFH/HFH program. The jointly sponsored SHAPE America and American Heart Association (AHA) program promotes physical education and provides children with knowledge of heart disease and stroke. The funds raised go toward cardiovascular disease and stroke research and health education.
Whittemore has been holding JRFH events for eight years. “Throughout this time, the amount of money my school has raised has fluctuated, but the students’ spirit and enthusiasm has not,” says Whittemore. “My students have always enjoyed helping other children who have heart conditions, they truly are heart heroes.”
The PE teacher is also actively involved with JRFH at the state level presenting the program to her peers at professional development conferences and holds the position of AHA representative to SHAPE America’s state affiliate, SHAPE Alaska.
In 2013 when the award-winning educator was diagnosed with a heart condition and underwent surgery, she turned the experience into a teachable moment, personalizing the JRFH program for her students. "My students were instrumental in making me feel more comfortable with my condition. I taught them all about my heart, made diagrams explaining exactly how the surgery would be performed and even let them touch my heart monitor," says Whittemore.
Sunni Danielowski of AHA describes the PE teacher as a go getter and sincere advocate for the cause. “She has helped recruit five schools within the past 18 months and initiated a friendly competition among schools; increasing both participation and interest in the Jump Rope For Heart program!”
The $2500 grant includes a US Games gift certificate to enhance the educator’s PE program, a free one-year membership to SHAPE America as well as expenses paid for travel and registration to the national convention. For more information about the SHAPE America National Convention & Expo, visit http://www.shapeamerica.org/events/convention2015/