Healthy Dixie Council awards local school $22K to start student biking program

ST. GEORGE — Over the next several years, hundreds of students will benefit from an innovative, school-based biking program at Valley Academy Charter School in Hurricane – because of a $22,000 grant from the Healthy Dixie Council.

Healthy Dixie Council awards Valley Academy Charter School in Hurricane a $22,000 grant for a biking program, location and date unspecified | Photo courtesy Healthy Dixie Council, St. George News

The bike program is called Riding for Focus and was developed by Specialized Bicycle Company and a team of researchers from Stanford University, according to a press release issued by the Healthy Dixie Council. Researchers learned the program improves physical and mental health, including improved academic performance.

“The goal of this program is for a student to ride a bike for at least 6-8 weeks, for a minimum of 3 days per week for 20 minutes,” said Benjamin Rae, president of the Healthy Dixie Council, said in the statement. “We like the fact it gets kids active and could instill a lifelong love of biking.”

The Riding for Focus program provides schools with everything they need including a physical education curriculum, comprehensive teacher training, a fleet of 30 bikes and safety equipment.

Dr. Tracy Stevens, principal of the charter school, said they are excited to implement this new biking program and grateful to have been selected by the Healthy Dixie Council.

“I believe our students will benefit greatly from the program,” she said.

Valley Academy, which serves some 500 students grades K-8, is only the fifth school in the state to be awarded the program, the statement says.

Healthy Dixie is a group of Washington County citizens promoting healthy habits. The council strives to improve the overall health of the citizens of Washington County. The council will be gathering data from the program to identify local impact and hopes that through the success at Valley Academy, other schools will be encouraged and accept the program in the future.

The council said they invite other schools to observe the program and reach out if they are interested in implementing this program at their school.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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