Students from Dr. Jamie Kootz’s senior seminar class at Kansas Wesleyan took the capstone project to heart — literally — raising more than $5,000 for the American Heart Association during the Spring semester.
“This total is significantly higher than last year’s,” Kootz said. “With the fact that these students are in a unique time — still in a pandemic — raising over $5,000 is remarkable.”
The class was divided into two groups, and each set a $2,500 goal for the American Heart Association’s Kids Heart Challenge.
“The Kids Heart Challenge is about raising money for kids who are born with heart defects and often go through multiple surgeries as children,” Kootz said. “The money will help those families pay for the surgeries and fund research to help the AHA develop more technology to improve medical treatments.”
Throughout the semester, the teams held fundraisers. Section A, led by Lauren Blue, raised $500 during a Super Bowl challenge. Other fundraisers by Section A included a basketball tournament, sand volleyball tournament and fundraisers at local restaurants.
Section B, led by Carlee Becker, also hosted fundraisers. Some of the highlights were pie in the face — that raised $500 — buy a Yotee at the Library and a kickball tournament.
Students also worked individually to raise money and awareness.
“Every student shared the Kids Heart Challenge to social media, sent emails and even made phone calls to reach their personal and class goal,” Kootz said.
Another aspect of the project was working with local schools. The KWU students partnered with physical education classes at St. Mary Elementary and Meadowlark Elementary via Microsoft teams. The KWU seniors organized a guest speaker and discussed the importance of heart health. They also facilitated relays, tag, tic-tac-toe, trash can basketball and Simon says games.
The project is part of the Senior Seminar, a capstone course for the Sport and Exercise Science program.
“They are to put together an event working with an Elementary school as well as to raise money to help kids who need money to pay for health expenses,” Kootz said.
“The American Heart Association was selected about 14 years ago because of our department’s passion for health and wellness. The reason for the Kids Heart Challenge is that we want to promote healthy hearts at a young age, as well as support those kids who have heart defects to be able to have money to have procedures.
“All of the students worked hard to reach a remarkable goal. They have set the bar high for the next year’s class.”