Forward Benoit Pouliot
and Tuukka Rask
visited Tufts Medical Center to raise awareness for the American Heart Association and interact with the children in the cardiac unit, while defensemen Johnny Boychuk
and Joe Corvo
hosted a one-hour hockey clinic for Special Olympics athletes at East Boston High School.
Meanwhile, forward David Krejci
visited the Riverdale Elementary School in Dedham to assist with the Jump Rope for Heart school visit.
Vanessa McGunnigle, the Youth Marketing Director of the American Heart Association, informed the students on how to keep their heart healthy, while Krejci told the children about some of his favorite fruits and vegetables and how he exercises.
“I think it’s important at a young age to know what’s going on,” Krejci said. “It’s really important so they don’t just sit around at home on the computer or video games. It’s important they like to move their body. I’m happy I’m here so I can help them from my experience of what I used to do as a kid.”
After the short lesson, Krejci, who incorporates jumping rope into his summer workout, displayed his skills for the students, and then handed out prize bags to students that answered math questions.
“They’re just kids so they might forget some things the teachers tell them,” Krejci said. “I remember [that happening] when I was a kid, but once I met someone who was playing a professional sport I knew exactly what I wanted to accomplish. Once they see someone who plays a professional sport, they want the same thing so hopefully they learn something from this.”
McGunnigle and the American Heart Association have frequently visited the Riverdale School, which has helped raise $8,000 in donations for heart and stroke research.
“It’s wonderful,” McGunnigle said. “Our goal is to teach students about their heart health from a young age so that they can get that mission piece and offset cardiovascular problems.”
This year was the first that Riverdale welcomed a Boston Bruin, and McGunnigle was excited to have Krejci engage with the children and show them some ways to exercise.
“It’s huge – sometimes there’s a big problem and disconnect,” McGunnigle said. “Kids think heart disease is an [elderly] disease so we’re trying to empower them to take care of their hearts now. To have someone like David come in, it’s huge because it reinforces that message of being healthy and making healthy choices.”--- Anthony Gulizia