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GMS receives $10,000 grant

Greenville Middle School will be fighting childhood obesity with a little extra help this year.

The school was recently awarded a $10,000 Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Alabama grant that will fund new activities, equipment and programs into schools to help get fifth and sixth graders more active.

GMS was just one of 10 schools in the state to receive the grant and GMS’s Coach Ronald Bogan couldn’t be happier.

“The name of our program is ATONtion and our goal is to help for the school to lose 2,000 pounds,” Bogan said. “We’ll have private weigh-ins, and we’ll document the weight for the whole month. We’ll have a thermometer inside the gym to document how many pounds the school has lost. Hopefully we’ll get to that 2,000 pounds by the end of the year.”

The grant is broken down into four components, which includes exercise, nutrition, parent involvement and budgeting the $10,000.

Bogan said the school has decided to use a sizeable portion of the $10,000 toward purchasing new technology that will help the kids become more active and be entertained at the same time.

“We’re going to purchase some dance pads where the kids can follow the routine on the screen,” Bogan said.

Different stations will be set up around the school’s gym that will include the technology but also exercise equipment like kettle bells, resistance bands and resistant bars ranging from 20-25 pounds.

“We also have an exercise chart at each station demonstrating and showing them the proper way to do the particular exercise,” Bogan said.

However, the grant is not directly aimed at just working with students. Bogan said it’s just as important to work with the parents as it is the students.

Throughout the year, the school will have five nights to invite parents to participate in not only trying the new technology but also learning new nutritional recipes and working with a Zumba instructor.

“We will also have a Zumba instructor,” Bogan said.  She’s going to come in two of the five nights that we’re going to do this to show how to exercise.”

Some of the money will also be distributed in purchasing new equipment, buying new videos and material for health classes and a nutritionist to come in and help provide healthier eating options.

“This is another avenue to get more kids involved into the physical aspect of our program,” Bogan said.