Christmas may be over and forgotten in January, but at Fisher-Titus Medical Center, the giving continues.
Each year around this time, the hospital awards grant money to school districts in its service area, through its Health Education Grant Program. The program helps funds tools school districts use to make science and health education relevant and fun to students.
Hospital officials formally presented nearly $50,000 in grants Tuesday to 10 local school districts. In the Health Education Grant Program's 12 years, the hospital has distributed more than $533,800, said Jim Gerken, vice chairman of Fisher-Titus' board of directors.
"Our board and Fisher-Titus Medical Center employees believe that by enhancing the educational foundation of our schools the entire region is better served," Gerken said.
Last year, Main Street School used grant money to purchase pedometers for students to measure their steps. This year's grant will allow the school to take a step further, and buy heart monitors.
Heart monitors provide students with instant feedback, motivation through accountability, portfolio data and inter-curriculum education. In addition to the heart monitors, the grant will purchase receiver hardware and management software for use in the physical education class.
The goal: To provide students and teachers with proper feedback regarding performance, intensity and student exertion levels.
For the first time in more than a decade, the World Health Organization has determined the nation's children have a lower life expectancy than today's adults. Partly to blame is the lack of necessary exercise and proper nutritional requirements.
"We feel like this type of grant will go a long way to reversing that trend on a local level," Main Street School Principal Kirk Pavelich said, referring to inactivity.
Monroeville Local Schools will also use grant money for health-related purposes. At the elementary level, materials will promote students' physical health and coordination, as well as hands-on understand of life, physical and earth science.
At the high school level, the district will use funds to support students' understanding of human anatomy and their mastery of chemistry concepts.
Norwalk Catholic School's $5,000 grant will provide instructional presentation tools and laboratory equipment. Last year's grant also purchased equipment for the laboratory, said science teacher Mike Wasiniak.
Specifically, Norwalk Catholic School will purchase consumable materials, biology specimens and chemicals. It also plans to buy laboratory equipment necessary in teaching chemistry and physics.
Wasiniak lauded Fisher-Titus for its generosity.
"This is by far the finest medical facility I've seen," he said.
New London Local Schools Superintendent Jim Eibel also praised the hospital.
"The grant gives us opportunities that otherwise we wouldn't have," he said.
The district will use its $5,000 grant to buy mimio interactive portable white boards. These will allow science teachers at all grade levels to connect to Web-based educational Web sites to enhance the educational experience for science students in all grades.
Schools receiving grants were: Berlin-Milan; Erie-Huron-Ottawa Educational Service Agency; Monroeville; New London; Norwalk city, Norwalk Catholic; South Central; Wellington; Western Reserve; and Willard.