Money available to schools that prove they’re “strong” enough

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INDIANAPOLIS — Less than a third of Indiana’s kids are getting even close to the daily exercise they need to stay healthy, prompting a new program by IU Health.

The initiative, called “Strong Schools,” is making grant money available to 22 elementary schools.

In order to qualify, the schools must show how they’ll use the money to promote healthy initiatives and exercise for kids.

“You don’t have to start an exercise program. Just being active and playing for children can be helpful in their health outcomes and their academic performance,” said Sarah Moore with IU Health.

At Phalen Leadership Academy downtown, exercise and activity are already built into the curriculum. The school plans to apply for a grant that could help them purchase more equipment and offer kids more choices.

“It allows us to think a little bigger, to not be limited by the confines of whether we have the funds or not,” Principal Jeremy Baugh said.

Schools that qualify will be separated into strong, stronger and strongest categories. Each level offers more money to that school, from $1,000 to $3,000.

In order to become a “stronger” or “strongest” school, the plan will need to include faculty and the community in health initiatives as well.

It’s all part of a plan to get more kids active when they’re younger. That way, they form habits that they’ll take home with them and carry into their older years.

“It’s really important to keep it fun and fresh for kids,” Baugh said.

Schools must apply for the grants by May 2. You can find more information from IU Health here.