GLEN ROSE - Glen Rose Elementary School students took to the ropes - jump ropes that is - during their annual Jump Rope for Heart event on Thursday, Feb. 18.

GRES Coach, Marci Simmons coordinated the event as part of the American Heart Association’s annual Jump Rope for Heart. The purpose of Jump Rope for Heart is to educate students on heart-health issues while engaging them in physical activity.

During the education sessions, GRES students learned all about the heart, how it functions and that heart disease not only affect adults, but kids, too.

Not only were the kids jumping rope, they were also raising money to be donated to the American Heart Association. The money raised will go towards research and education for heart disease and stroke, the number one killer of Americans. The students collected money from their family and friends prior to participating in the jump rope routines.

“We raise between $6,000-9,000 every year, and this year the students raised $6,247.47,” Simmons said.

Each class participated in the event and began learning their jump rope routines in January. The pre-kindergarten students jumped over stationary ropes, while the kindergarten through second graders learned a routine that incorporated hopping, skipping and running while jumping.

Jump Rope for Heart dates back to 1978, when a physical education teacher in Wisconsin originally started the event as a rope-a-thon.

Following the inaugural year, the American Heart Association and SHAPE America officially launched Jump Rope For Heart as a national event. The two organizations formed an agreement that the program would include an educational component to promote heart health in schools. According to SHAPE America, Jump Rope for Heart is offered in 28,000 schools in America and has raised more than $700 million since its inception.

Simmons said that it is important to instill the benefits of exercising and eating healthy in the kids at an early age. Jump Rope For Heart was a perfect way to combine education, exercise, and community involvement.