MONTE VISTA ELEMENTARY SCHOOL | ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO
Like many schools, Monte Vista Elementary School depends on fundraisers throughout the year to maintain special programs and student activities. Cake Walks, cookie dough sales and a BBQ with typical, unhealthy fare were some of the school’s most popular fundraisers. Over the past few years, the school’s wellness council decided that one of their main goals was to replace the unhealthy fundraising activities with more active and healthier alternatives. When a parent brought forward the idea of the “Blender Bike,” the council was thrilled.
With funds from a national Safe Routes to School grant, they purchased the bike blender attachment from a company called Rock the Bike. A local nonprofit donated the bike and they were ready to ride!
The wellness council researched and purchased the blender attachment, keeps the schedule and makes sure it is available to teachers and for fundraisers. The bike has provided an opportunity to teach kids how to make healthy snacks that meet the Alliance Guidelines, to keep students physically active by using the bike in classes (as a reward and a learning tool) and to have a healthy fundraiser by selling small amounts of the smoothies or chances to ride the bike at school events.
Physical Education teacher Paula Jackson said that the bike has been a great addition to the school. “Students are associating riding a bike with healthy fun, they have learned how to make a healthy snack and the school has a mobile fundraiser!” She goes on to say that the bike also offers an alternative to parents who want to bring something healthier in for birthday celebrations. They can bring the fruit, juice and yogurt to the classroom and the students ride the bike to make the smoothies. Students will then share a “birthday toast” with the fruit smoothie. They have even used it at a staff luncheon.
In addition to the Bike Blender attachment, the SRTS grant was used to purchase a Spin Art attachment for the bicycle from the same company. With the Spin Art attachment, one student rides, another squirts the paint, and a piece of art has been created with human energy and teamwork. And by charging for the privilege of painting and riding, the wellness council now has a double fundraiser activity! At a recent school wide event, the Blender & Spin Art Bike was a huge hit with children and adults.
The Blender & Spin Art Bike complements the school’s vast array of now healthier fundraisers, such as the PTA Fall BBQ and Health Fair where soda and unhealthy food items have been swapped with water, fresh vegetables, whole grain breads, veggie burger options and physical activity opportunities like a mobile climbing wall. With cooperation from the school’s PTA, roller skating and swimming parties have replaced the cookie dough sales. The popular Art-n-Dessert Night now boasts more fresh fruit than brownies, and the most popular and always successful Jog-a-Thon continues to bring in around $20,000 per year.