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Lane County nonprofit teams up with elementary schools to teach PE

The nonprofit Healthy Moves is teaming up with teachers to help students learn about the importance of fitness.

Posted: Jul 25, 2018 4:46 PM
Updated: Jul 25, 2018 10:21 PM

LANE COUNTY, ORE. -- Some elementary schools in Lane County do not have full-time physical education teachers.

In 2011 Denise Thomas created the nonprofit "Healthy Moves" to team up with classroom teachers to help students learn about P.E.

Thomas began the organization to keep the importance of fitness in schools' cirricula but enable the teachers to include other physical activities than just the game of tag.

"We want to go back to what the Oregon Department of Education wants ... go back to teaching skills. Push-ups, jumping jacks, how to throw a ball, how to do skills," Thomas said. "You know, what P.E. is about."

Thomas has hired trainers to help her go into the schools and teach the children about various sports skills, including former Oregon Duck track star Megan Patrignelli.

Patrignelli was introduced to Healthy Moves toward the tail end of her career at the University of Oregon but wanted to continue spreading her knowledge about track and field and the life lessons one can learn from playing sports.

"Kind of similar to what I got from sports growing up was just making friends with people, sharing that experience and getting some confidence in yourself," Patrignelli said. 

Wednesday morning Healthy Moves was out in Lowell, teaching the students of Lundy Elementary School the fundamentals of hurdles and long jump.

In two weeks, Thomas will return to Lundy Elementary to help teach the students about tumbling.

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