This was a big week for Tri 4 Schools.  More importantly, it was a big week for 20% of our participants.  One in five kids in our events and programs participates via our scholarship program.  Without this program, these kids would not be able to join in the fun of our triathlons, mud runs, or Exercise to Achievement program.

What does that mean in the grand scheme of things?  When kids who are at the highest risk of poor health and nutrition are not given opportunities to learn and pursue healthy lifestyles, it further increases the obesity epidemic in our country, lowers academic achievement scores, and leads to increased healthcare costs and reduced economic productivity.

On a personal level though, the impact that a fun, supportive, and healthy opportunity can have on one child, one school, or one classroom can be life-changing.  Given all the obstacles schools in our community face while trying to keep kids active, our scholarships provide critical funding that provide short and long-term benefits to these kids.

For just one example, I’d like to share a story from Mendota Elementary school:

Mendota is located on Madison’s north side, and 80% of their students qualify for free lunch, the second highest percentage in all of Dane County.  Their budget for physical education and wellness was less than $200 a year (total, not per student), but their amazing staff, led by phy-ed teacher Jess Walker, works hard to find creative ways to encourage her students.  Jess was eager to have her students participate in the Tri 4 Schools events, and because we could offer free entries, transportation, and help with equipment, they have had over 50 kids participate in our events the last two years.  This year, they were designated as an Adopted School, meaning they earned an additional 5% of our revenue due to the financial hardships their school faces.  With this total, they were able to raise $4,500!  They plan to use the funds towards replacing outdated phy-ed and playground equipment, as well a bringing a dance artist in residence for a week who will teach all students a choreographed dance.  The students will show off their skills at a dance at the end of the week!

On Tuesday, our donors responded to this call by giving $4,000 as part of the Giving Tuesday worldwide day of impact.  This will make a huge impact on hundreds of kids in our community by providing entry fees and transportation to kids who qualify for free or reduced lunch at school.

From our entire board, we want to thank you for your support, and thank everyone who has supported us this year in any way.  From volunteering to attending an event to providing a financial gift, you made it possible to achieve and surpass our goals in 2014!

It’s not too late to be a part of the movement for healthier, happier kids – you can make a gift online before December 31st, or mail a check payable to Tri 4 Schools (937 Jenna Drive, Verona, WI 53593).