For over two decades Village Elementary School has hosted a Jog-A-Thon event for students to help raise money for the school as one of their biggest fundraising events of the year. This year the event will be shaping up a little differently with COVID safety measures in place, but with careful and creative planning from the school and PTO. Students are still very much looking forward to the Jog-A-Thon this coming month.
Charity Edelman, the current president of the PTO for Village Elementary gave me the rundown of what students and families can look forward to this year that differs from years past. “In the past the Jog-A-Thon has been separated by grades and held over one to two days. [This year] we sat down to ask ourselves how we can make it fun and engaging for the kids [in regards to the challenges and restrictions of in-person events]. We had a unique opportunity to brainstorm what else we could incorporate with it.”
Working with Village Elementary’s staff, led by principal Dr. Heidi Bergener, Edelman says students this year can look forward to a broader approach with elements of what the Jog-A-Thon represents in their curriculum. “It’s hard to really get excited about a virtual event, so every kid will receive a packet (as well as teachers) and have a conversation in each classroom,” Edelman explained. Each class will get to decide on a class goal together that includes their individual goals for the Jog-A-Thon.
“We want opportunities for them to discuss things like, ‘What’s your drive? What skills are you going to use?’ etc.,” Edelman added. “We wanted kids to do that and have some ownership over it, and to have the flexibility to take into account that every kids is different with their individual interests and abilities.”
The event this year will take place over two weeks, from April 16 - 29, allowing students to set their goals and work towards that in whatever manner suits their interests, be it running, walking, or any other sport or physical activity. In addition to the classroom discussions about setting and achieving these goals, Edelman talked about how the event will extend through learning opportunities in various ways. “It’s a whole school event. Last year my daughter’s PE had lots of different things set up around [the Jog-A-Thon] the month leading up to it. There are art projects centered around it, curriculum about the health aspects with each grade level, the librarian picks books around running. Everyone gets involved.”
As the Jog-A-Thon is happening virtually this year, Bergener created an Instagram account for the school (a closed account to maintain privacy) where students will be encouraged to share their photos of their efforts throughout the two weeks. “Last year there was a first grader who organized her entire block to get involved and any kid on that block worked together to do their laps,” recalled Edelman. “They had balloons and signs and neighbors cheering on the runners, and showed how the entire community gets involved in this event.”
As for the fundraising aspect of the event, Community Partners made up of local businesses help sponsor the event and supply prizes, and pledge forms for donations will be included in the packets all students will receive that can be made in their name. Jog-A-Thon t-shirts will also be available for purchase for $15 with this year’s theme around communication and community building, and the PTO will also be holding a silent auction online.
“Coronado is such a unique city that everyone is invested in the community as a whole, the schools and local businesses and we’ve just been amazed at the local support,” Edelman said. “We’re trying to incorporate as many local businesses as we can this year as well, places that a lot of students may already go to (swimming, karate, soccer shop, etc.) so we can help to raise awareness all around and get the word out about them.”
Students will be able to use a karate class or swim lesson, for example, to reach their goals this year.
“The Jog-A-Thon is typically biggest fundraiser raising between $30,000-40,000,” Edelman mentioned of the event’s importance. “[It’s] pretty substantial and helps raise the majority of funds for all the stuff that we do, along with CSF who we partner with, on things like the Meets the Artists program where PTO then supplies all the art supplies, for instance,” she explained.
To decide on where the funds are needed most, the PTO meets with Bergener and the school’s teachers and staff to identify student’s needs and then vote on what to move forward on while considering what CSF will be providing for and what the Jog-A-Thon’s raised funds can best achieve that year. In the past the event has helped fund a new playground, staff lounge, library renovations, and more, and this year’s goal is to update the school’s water fountains to contactless water bottle refilling stations and a potential art project for the school.
Students and teachers can expect to receive their Jog-A-Thon packets soon, and more information about the event can be found on Konstella, Village Elementary PTO’s app.