During February’s Heart Month and throughout the school year, students from 174 schools across Maine will be jumping rope for the American Heart Association, but also for their own hearts. Local schools like Coastal Ridge Elementary in York and Wells Elementary have begun their annual Jump Rope for Heart event through physical education classes.

“We are celebrating the 35th anniversary of Jump Rope for Heart this year, and it’s all about the ducks,” said Gary Urey, AHA youth market director. “Kids receive collectible rubber ducks when they raise money to fight heart disease and stroke. It’s been very popular with the kids this year, and we’re so grateful for their enthusiasm and support.”

Jump Rope for Heart is a national, educational, fundraising program that is sponsored by the American Heart Association and the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. Jumping individually or as teams, students ask friends and family for donations and receive thank-you gifts based on the dollars they raise. Children will receive the rubber ducks for donations.

Millions of Jump Rope For Heart participants have raised money nationally for the fight against heart disease and stroke since the program’s inception 35 years ago. While students learn about physical fitness and the value of community service, schools also benefit from participating, earning points for physical education equipment.

For information about Jump Rope for Heart, contact Urey at [email protected] or 523-3008 or visit www.heart.org/jump.