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Featured Spotlight

Health and physical education graduate students pursue grant funding for area schools

February 20, 2013

Dustin Cockram Spotlight photo

Dustin Cockram receives award for Blackstone Primary School

As part of professor Claire Mowling’s Developing Leadership Skills course, eight graduate students in the health and physical education program in the Department of Health, Athletic Training, Recreation and Kinesiology have written grants to impact area schools.

"The course centers around becoming agents of change and creating an impact in the surrounding community," Mowling said. "Students partnered with schools in need of help and collaborated with the physical education teachers and principals to develop a project, initiative or gain equipment that will enhance the health and physical education in the school and community."

Dustin Cockram ’12, who earned his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from Longwood and is now enrolled in the graduate program, chose to write a grant for the elementary school where he was a student teacher, Blackstone Primary School in Nottoway County, Va. His proposal was for a family fitness grant for the parent teacher association (PTA).

"It was a great feeling to submit the grant on behalf of a school I know so well, and when I found out we got it, it was very exciting," Cockram said. "The principal and physical education teacher called me as soon as they found out and said they could not wait to put the program into motion."

As part of the grant, the school’s PTA will receive $300 for a program that will take place during the monthly PTA meetings. The purpose of the program is to increase children’s physical activity through parental involvement and to provide the students and parents with activities and information on how to live a physically active lifestyle. Each meeting will have a different theme and three wellness activity stations. Pedometers were also purchased and will be given to the parents and students who come to the PTA meetings.

"Children are becoming increasingly sedentary due to more time spent playing video games, watching television and using computers," Cockram said. "Parental involvement is important to increase physical activity outside of school, and this program will help impact both students and parents."

Mowling said that by becoming involved with area schools through the grant project, her students are serving as advocates for their schools while learning to secure external funding, two essential skills for their careers in education.

"Many school systems do not have all the resources they need and few have staff who are experienced in securing external funds," Mowling said. "This type of project will set Longwood students apart from others and give them the edge when looking for jobs."

In addition to helping to prepare him for his job search and career, Cockram credits the grant project with reinforcing something that has held true throughout his Longwood experience.

"Everything we do is real and has an impact on Farmville and the surrounding communities," he said.

For more information about the graduate program in health and physical education, visit http://www.longwood.edu/education/34787.htm.