Clear Creek Elementary students top Kids Heart Challenge goal, rewarded with helicopter visit

CLEAR LAKE, Iowa, March 7, 2024 — For the third year in a row, Clear Creek Elementary School surpassed its fundraising goal through the American Heart Association’s Kids Heart Challenge™. This year, as the Association celebrates its 100th year, the reward was extra special – a visit from a LifeFlight helicopter.

From Feb. 19 to March 1, the students at Clear Creek exceeded their $40,000 fundraising goal to support the mission of the American Heart Association, a global force for healthier lives for all. Clear Creek led all Iowa schools in Kids Heart Challenge fundraising in each of the last two years and is poised to do it again in 2024. 

“Behind the leadership of amazing parent volunteers and educators, Clear Creek Elementary has consistently blown me away with its efforts,” said Amy Knoll, school engagement director for the American Heart Association. “Participating in Kids Heart Challenge is a longstanding tradition in Clear Lake and the community has proven time and again how they consistently show up to help others. We are so fortunate to have such a wonderful partnership with the people of Clear Lake.”

To commemorate the special achievement, a LifeFlight helicopter from Fort Dodge touched down to greet the students at the school Thursday, March 7. The students explored the helicopter and learned how the crew utilizes the science and research of the American Heart Association to save lives. 

Funds raised by Kids Heart Challenge participants support the American Heart Association’s scientific research and outreach programs, paving the way for breakthroughs and advancements that improve health outcomes and create healthier communities. With more than $5.7 billion invested in cardiovascular medical research since 1949, the American Heart Association is the nation’s largest nongovernment funder of heart and stroke research – second only to the U.S. government. In Iowa, the Association is currently investing $7.8 million in 38 research studies at the University of Iowa and Iowa State University.

“The Kids Heart Challenge program inspires and grows our students understanding of wellness in a fun and innovative way,” said Angela O’Tool, physical education teacher and coordinator of the program. “Pairing that excitement with raising funds for children with special hearts allows our students to grow their commitment to wellness beyond just themselves. It brings health to a new level, allowing them to be a part of the solution by funding research.”

In all, 225 students at Clear Creek took part in Kids Heart Challenge. In addition to the fundraising efforts, 93 families learned Hands-Only CPR and 76 students completed Finn’s Mission, a way for students to participate in the Kids Heart Challenge by completing challenges like learning CPR and identifying the warning signs of a stroke.

Clear Creek has participated in the Kids Heart Challenge since opening its doors in 1998, but the school district’s history with American Heart Association school programs dates to the 1980s. 

About Kids Heart Challenge

The Kids Heart Challenge offers a variety of physical activities to get elementary students’ hearts pumping such as dance, basketball or jumping rope paired with digital missions to learn life-saving skills like Hands-Only CPR™. The program has more than 40 years of proven success rooted in scientific research which showed that kids who are regularly active feel better, improve their mental health, build self-esteem, and decrease and prevent conditions such as anxiety and depression.

The educational curriculum and physical activities included in the Kids Heart Challenge program help meet the needs of today’s youth and educators in virtual, hybrid and socially distanced classroom settings. The program, a successful part of thousands of schools from coast-to-coast, targets improving whole-body wellness which is vital to drive immediate and long-term health in children.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans only 20% of kids get enough activity on a consistent, recommended basis. In addition to improved physical health, the benefits of physical activity for children include better grades, school attendance and classroom behavior.

Schools interested in participating in the Kids Heart Challenge can register online at

Clear Creek Elementary
Clear Creek Elementary
Clear Creek Elementary
Clear Creek Elementary


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