What Happened to Jump Rope for Heart?
Nov 05, 2023Matt Hopkins
Jump Rope for Heart was a fundraising and event program that for years was an annual events for elementary and middle schools around the world, with thousands of schools and millions of kids participating. The program raised more than $1.2 billion in the USA from 1978 to 2017.
In the USA, what for many years was known as Jump Rope for Heart has evolved into the Kids Heart Challenge, which still includes jump rope as a component. The Jump Rope for Heart concept is still practiced in many other countries, including:
In the USA, the program is jointly sponsored by the American Heart Association and the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE), who provide support, materials, and fundraising tools for educators interested in putting on a Jump Rope for Heart program.
In short, Jump Rope for Heart was designed with four simple goals:
The program did this by involving elementary and middle school kids in a 3-4 week “learn to jump rope” program, usually conducted during PE class, that culminates in a big demonstration or performance open to parents and the community. The gym and school were usually plastered with fun heart health posters and educational materials. Along the way, kids were encouraged to fundraise by asking friends and family for donations that will be sent to the American Heart Association (to support research and education programs).
Kids Heart Challenge / Jump Rope for Heart programs are typically led by PE teachers who register their school to host an event through the American Heart Association website (here’s the school sign up page). Events are often scheduled in February to coincide with American Heart Month, but can be done anytime during the year.
Once the school is registered, the American Heart Association sends over an event kit with everything needed to put on an event, including:
Once registered, the teacher or coordinator sets a fundraising goal and begins reaching out to students and parents encouraging them to sign up and participate in the event. Every student has the ability to create an online profile and web page to help with fundraising. The secure site makes it easy send emails, share information and take online donations.
The event itself can be big or small, with some teachers doing a simple event during the PE class hour, while others host big after school events with demonstrations, competitions and jump rope routines (usually practiced by students during the preceding 3-4 weeks).
About the Author
Matt Hopkins is a former competitive speed jumper and jump rope coach. Matt has won numerous national championships in speed jumping, and his athletes have won several national speed and freestyle titles and have broken world and national speed records. He also taught middle and elementary school PE in Leavenworth WA for 23 years.
We're all about equipping and encouraging people to take on big challenges, because we know the process of doing hard things helps us grow in character and capacity.