A rainbow of colorful jump ropes sliced through the morning air Saturday as children enjoyed Jump Rope for Heart at Clifton Park Elementary School in Killeen.

Helena Brew, 9, was jumping rope in memory of her grandfather.

“I’m doing this for my grandpa, who died of a heart attack, to make people aware, so they don’t get heart attacks,” Helena said.

The jump-a-thon combined the efforts of the physical education teachers, the American Heart Association and the student council. It is the first year the event was held outside of normal PE classes.

Tora Haws, physical education teacher at Clifton, said the event will encourage parents to keep their children active.

“Kids can do different activities at home, so it doesn’t have to be an organized sport to get them out and moving,” she said.

Children jumped rope at their own pace. Then each grade level did rope routines they practiced in gym classes. About 70 children attended the free activity sessions that included learning about healthier food choices and yoga exercises.

“Yoga is a great way for children to learn to use the body to de-stress themselves,” said Britany Mitchell, an instructor with Radiant Child Yoga.

Georgia Fischer, 10, knows firsthand the importance about staying active to stay healthy. She had heart surgery last year and wants people to know it is a lot of fun to help others.

“I’m feeling really excited about jumping rope for the people who have heart disease. It’s pretty cool,” Georgia said.

Students learned about the health benefits of yoga from Lisa Kelly, an instructor with Live and Let Liv Yoga.

“I think it built up their confidence that they could do the poses so easily and well,” Kelly said.

Kindergarten student Ashland Brown liked learning new exercises, “It’s fun to move.”

So far, the children raised more than $500 in donations. All proceeds will go to the American Heart Association.

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