Pulse3 Foundation

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What is the program?


The Pulse3 Foundation “Learn with Heart” program was developed in partnership with Saginaw Valley State University’s Roberts Fellows. This initiative seeks to address childhood obesity and simultaneously the learning needs of students K-3. This program provides teachers with activities that can be used to teach grade content level expectations in math, science, language arts and social studies in a physically active way. These activities are based on proven national models that have been adapted for local use. These activities will be packaged in a toolkit that includes a set of starter supplies necessary to carry out the activities. Other project highlights include:


• A new set of activities will be distributed to participating teachers annually.


• Nationally validated evaluation tools have been incorporated into the program.


• At the end of the school year, summer passports will be distributed to individual students. Similar to summer reading programs, students will earn points for healthy activities such as eating fruits and vegetables, drinking water, limiting screen time and playing outdoors. A mid-summer check-in will occur where students can redeem these points for incentive prizes. A final check-in will happen the Saturday after school begins at the Run for Your Heart races.


The Pulse3 Foundation is dedicated to developing, promoting and supporting educational and community initiatives that empower people of all ages to live and lead healthier lives. We strive to create a community that is heart-healthy and vibrant by championing causes related to the education, prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease.


How will grant dollars be used?


The “Learn with Heart” toolkits will be incorporated into the nutritional education programming that the Saginaw ISD and Michigan State University Extension (MSUE) are doing in the classrooms. Their classroom educators will be trained in the use of the toolkits and evaluation instruments. This funding will allow the toolkits to be incorporated into 50 existing classrooms through SNAP-Ed programming currently provided by Saginaw ISD (25 classrooms) and Michigan State University Extension (MSUE) (25 classrooms). In addition, the toolkits will be placed in 50 classrooms currently not receiving SNAP-Ed programing either through Saginaw ISD or MSUE because they don’t qualify for free and reduced lunch. This will allow for data collection on the effectiveness of the toolkits in classrooms that are low-income versus those that are not. Important data will be collected that will help direct future youth health program developments.


Who do they collaborate with?


Through Pulse3 Foundation’s partnership with Saginaw Valley State University’s Roberts Fellows in creating the “Learn with Heart” toolkits, Pulse3 Foundation has found a way to work with the Saginaw ISD and MSUE to efficiently and effectively disseminate their research-based information into the hands of local educators to help children live and lead healthier lives. As part of the toolkit, Pulse3 Foundation incentivizes children and their families to participate in the Run for Your Heart races. Regarding the Run for Your Heart races, the Saginaw YMCA provides the community with an 8-week program to prepare participants to race in the Pulse3 Foundation’s annual races. The Saginaw YMCA is also part of the Run for Your Heart races planning committee.


The Pulse3 Foundation is an active member of the Obesity Action Group, a subcommittee of the Saginaw Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP). The focus of the group is to reduce obesity and to improve the lives of those residents in Saginaw County. These quarterly meetings allow for sharing, collaborating and networking with other agencies on the subject of healthy lifestyles. The agencies represented promote one another’s programs, support community initiatives and work on joint programming to meet the needs of the people in Saginaw County.


What’s the plan for sustainability?


The actual “Learn with Heart” toolkits will become less expensive for teachers that use the boxes over multiple years. Annually, Pulse3 Foundation will send an update of activities, not a new box. Sponsorship of the program would be sought in future years; a fee-per-box could be enacted as well. If this program is coupled with MSUE and the Saginaw ISD’s SNAP-Ed and other nutritional programming, Pulse3 Foundation could explore reimbursement for kit expenses that are currently being used by these partners for a more expensive activity program.