Wallace A. Smith Elementary School students chanted the school's name as they excitedly circled its newly installed walking track, their reward for winning the Children's Hospital at Erlanger's "Let's Get on Track" competition.
Over a two-year period, the hospital received a $240,000 grant from Kohl's to fight childhood obesity through the store's "Let's Get Moving" campaign. Erlanger used the funds to host the Let's Get on Track competition for a new walking track and family fun nights to provide children and parents with tips and strategies to live healthy lifestyles.
Hamilton County Schools selected DuPont, Hardy, North Hamilton and Wallace A. Smith elementary schools to participate in the competition based on the schools' needs. Among other factors, each has middle and high schools nearby that could share their track, said project coordinator Kelly Finnell.
Students at the participating schools were encouraged to increase their activity levels and record their steps, and Wallace A. Smith was able to beat the competition through awareness projects and logging the most hours of physical activity.
Kohl's donation to Children's Hospital at Erlanger was made with funds raised through Kohl's Cares, a merchandise program in which children's books and toys are sold and the net profit is donated to support community health initiatives nationwide. Since 2000, the program has raised more than $360 million.
Erlanger also used the grant from Kohl's to host competitions and award walking tracks to schools in Marion, Polk and McMinn counties.
"Kohl's has been so generous to us for several years in partnering to reach out to the community and make a difference," said Finnell. "We look forward to partnering with Kohl's in the future."
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