As part of their annual grant cycle, the Nashville Predators Foundation offers financial support to organizations across Middle Tennessee. The Foundation recently saw their contribution in action when the McFadden School in Murfreesboro constructed a walking track – funded by a Predators grant – as part of Rutherford County Schools’ initiative to foster health and wellness in their students.
With obesity rates rising among America’s youth, Rutherford County Schools have taken a proactive stance in ensuring their children have a safe and accessible place to exercise during the school day. The track at McFadden is just the first in a long list of walking tracks to be built across the county. Members of the school board are currently in the planning stages of building six additional tracks with an overall goal of installing a walking track at every school in Rutherford County. McFadden’s walking track is open to the public, 24-hours a day, and is accessible to McFadden School students as well as the local community.
“The track has already proven to be a huge success,” Coordinated School Health Supervisor Jenna Stitzel said. “Teachers are now able to take students on walks around the track at any point during the school day. Some teachers have even reported that students are better behaved when they are given the opportunity to walk around the track just before a hard lesson.”
These walking tracks have already been shown to impact the children’s day-to-day activity levels and enhance their attitudes during the school day. The track also provides a safer place for students to complete their annual state-mandated one mile run.
“Before the track, students were running in the parking lot and on the roads,” Stitzel said. “The new track is behind the school, in a fenced area, which is much safer for all involved.”
Gnash and other members of the Predators Community Relations staff were on-hand to help with the ribbon-cutting. Once the ceremony was complete, students couldn’t wait to take Gnash on a walk around their brand new track. As a thank you to the team, the McFadden School will hold a yearly wellness promotion event know as the Predator Prowl. During this event, the students will be timed as they run laps around the track. Those numbers will be kept and students will be encouraged to improve on their times year-to-year.
“Inactivity and obesity among children is something we all need to be aware of in this day-and-age,” Nashville Predators Senior Vice President of Hockey Communications and Public Relations Gerry Helper said. “Exercise and wellness go hand-in-hand with professional sports and we here at the Preds recognize we serve as active role models for young children in the community. So projects like the one here at McFadden will ensure that the Nashville Predators Foundation will continue to provide a positive impact on children’s wellness for years to come.”
The Nashville Predators Foundation was able to provide funding for the track through various donations from members of the Nashville community and the Predators fan base at large. The Preds Foundation strives to meet the educational, social, health and cultural needs of our community by offering unique resources and financial support to local youth-oriented organizations.