(Posted March 15, 2017)
Norwood Elementary in West Jefferson received a $20,000 grant to build a climbing wall as part of Playmakers, a program designed to promote sports, physical activity, and active play at school.
UnitedHealthcare sponsors the program with support from Ohio State IMG Sports Marketing and 97.1 The Fan. The grant check was presented on March 9 during a school assembly. Among those who attended were former Ohio State and NFL players Bobby Carpenter and Anthony Schlegel and Ohio State mascot Brutus Buckeye.
Playmakers enhances access and resources for physical activity among children in kindergarten through sixth grade. According to the United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings, more than 30 percent of children in Ohio ages 10 to 17 are overweight or obese, placing the state 28th nationally.
Each week during the 2016 Ohio State football season, people across the state had the chance to enter and win an Ohio State prize package that included autographed merchandise and the opportunity to designate an Ohio elementary school to receive on of 13 weekly $1,000 Playmakers grants from UnitedHealthcare.
Norwood Elementary won the $1,000 grant during week five of the 2016 season and is using that grant to support its morning fitness club. Upon conclusion of the football season, Norwood and the other weekly finalist schools were entered for the chance to win the $20,000 top-prize grant. Norwood came out on top.
“I applaud Ohio State and UnitedHealthcare for their Playmakers program and encouraging physical activity at elementary schools across the state,” said Susan Barte, Norwood principal. “We’ve already benefited from the first grant to our morning fitness program, and we know this climbing wall will encourage our students to be active.”
Individuals nominated elementary schools for the grants by visiting www.buckeyeplaymakers.com and entering the sweepstakes. Two schools, Copopa Elementary in Strongsville and Tinora Elementary in Defiance, each received second-place prizes of $5,000.
UnitedHealthcare operates a network of 257 hospitals statewide.