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Jump Ropes, Heart Health, & Superhero Capes

Monday, March 12, 2018

Congenital heart disease affects 8 out of every 1,000 children – including one of our students, Drew, who was born with a heart anomaly. Each year, Drew shares his story with classmates and encourages them to value their heart health. This year on Valentine’s Day, students banded together to celebrate hearts in a different way.

Middle and Upper School students organized a mixed-age athletic competition benefiting the Children’s Heart Center, which specializes in helping children born with heart disorders. Through donations in support of the participants and a student-led bake sale, the Khan Lab School community raised over $3,500.

Children playing for the Stanford Children's Heart Center.

Students got their hearts racing by jumping rope, shooting basketballs, hula-hooping and long-jumping, and Middle School students coached them through each station.

“It was really fun to get the whole school together, not just to have fun but to give back to our community,” said Megan, a student in Independence Level 5. “It’s important to take action when you want change, because if you don’t, then who will?”

Involving the Community

Parents volunteered to keep track of students’ high scores at different stations while cheering them on. They also attended the event as spectators, donated treats to the students’ bake sale fundraiser, and contributed prizes to the competition such as sports equipment, games, and even tickets to a Giants game.

Autumn, a student at Los Altos High School, volunteered her time to run the hula hoop station with her mom (Lead Advisor Raina Grove), and several teachers stayed late at school to help out. The Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health even came by and brought educational materials to distribute at the event.

The students who raised the most money and won various events were recognized in front of their peers at Community Meeting the following Friday, where school leaders emphasized the importance of helping others.

Students receive prizes after the competition.

Connecting Back to the Curriculum

The event coincided with Independence Level 5’s term project on the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, which set forth specific targets to “end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all.” Students began by researching the U.N.’s sustainable development agenda, then took action in their own community through the Be the Change Initiative. The Level 5 Lead Advisor, Raina Grove, asked students: “What can we do in the Bay Area to take action on the Sustainable Development Goals?”

Raina said the “Jump! for the Children’s Heart Center” event fit in perfectly with Sustainable Development Goal #3: Good Health and Well-being, and a number of Level 5 students took on the Valentine’s Day event as an opportunity to engage in service learning.

Sohm, a student in Independence Level 6 who coached younger children at the event, expressed excitement to delve deeper into service learning on Level 6’s upcoming trip to Cambodia. Students will be installing biosand water filters in rural houses, as well as giving English lessons to local children. “One of the SDG goals is clean water,” said Sohm. “Once we see that this water is filtered and improved and manageable for that price, clean water can expand to other places.”

For their part, our youngest students also jumped in to help out with the Valentine’s Day fundraiser. Independence Level 1 made goody bags and activity kits for children battling heart disease, and they designed superhero capes and get-well cards to lift the spirits of hospitalized patients.

Hero Capes and goodie bags made by Independence Level 1 students.

On March 12, students from Level 1 visited the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health with their families in order to learn more about the difference their donations made for heart patients. Finally, they presented the foundation with a check for the $3,504 raised by our community.

Check presentation with the IL1 students.


“I would like to express our sincere gratitude for your generosity in support of our patients and families,” said Caitlin Burns, Community Relations Assistant for the Lucile Packard Foundation. “Thanks to your thoughtful gifts, smiles will be spread throughout our hospital.”


Up Next: Teens Give Back