Community leaders help teacher find funding for PE heart rate monitors
Physical educators are known for their creative lessons to engage students and get them moving. That creativity also helps in the quest to find funding for new tools that can transform a program.
“We are small school in northern Minnesota,” said Fosston High School teacher Ben Hemberger. “Like any school, funding is going to be an issue. We had to try to get creative.”
In 2016, Hemberger wanted to convert from IHT’s chest-based heart rate monitors to the new IHT Zone wrist heart rate monitors. But as many P.E. teachers experience, his local budget couldn’t provide the funds. Undeterred, Hemberger explored a number of different options, and with support from his administration and community, was able to find funding with help from a trio of organizations:
A grant from Fosston Education Foundation covered half the cost of the class set of heart rate monitors, and after meeting with his principal and school superintendent, Hemberger approached local service organizations comprised of community leaders. He explained his P.E. program and the importance of teaching heart rate to the local Lions and Rotary clubs, comprised of community leaders who often support local educational initiatives, and his message resonated with both audiences.
“Through the Lions Club, we were able to raise an additional $640,” Hemberger said. “After that was all said and done, we still needed to raise about $1,300. I had gone and spoken to our local Rotary Club and basically gave the same presentation that I did to the Lions Club. The CEO of [local hospital] was there as part of the Rotary. He talked to me afterwards and said they’d like to be a part of it.”
Two weeks later, his search to find funding ended. Hemberger received an email from the CEO of the local hospital offering to cover the remainder of the cost to purchase the new heart rate monitors.
“I got the email and I couldn’t get down to our principal’s office fast enough to let her know the news,” he said. “I was very surprised. It was humbling and I’m very thankful for the generosity that our community has shown going toward this. It’s a very cool deal.”
Hemberger’s success is two-fold. Not only did he find funding to purchase the heart rate monitors, he proved to students that stepping outside of one’s comfort zone can bring big rewards.
“[Asking for money] was a little out of my comfort zone as well, but when people in our community saw the potential of these devices and system, they were more than willing to step in, pitch in where they could because they know it will serve the betterment of our kids,” he said.
It’s a lesson they’ve taken to heart. Some students find it uncomfortable to work hard enough to meet their daily goal, but they push through, just like their teacher did.
“When they are [wearing the heart rate monitors], you see them trying just a little bit harder,” he said. “They know there is a goal to hit.”