Hoops for Heart nets thousands for RI Heart Association

Johnston Sun Rise ·

It was a SADD event to remember on a recent Friday morning inside Johnston High School’s famed Edward L. DiSimone Gymnasium.

A total of 115 Proud Panthers – all of whom had been excused from their morning classes to participate in an annual and highly-unusual and important fundraising event – wound up taking in $2,400 for the Rhode Island Heart Association.

Under the coordination and organization of faculty member Greg Russo along with valuable assistance from physical education teachers Peg Guilmette and Ellen Quantmeyer, the JHS SADD (Students Against Dangerous Decisions) participated in a number of fun-filled games that really had their hearts pumping.

“Our students love this event,” Russo said. “They look forward to it and actually go out and raise donations that SADD donates to the (Rhode Island) Heart Association every year.”

As Russo explained, each student was required to raise a minimum of $20 in order to participate.

Some students, he noted, raised more and when asked if the $2,400 total was a record, Russo replied: “Oh no, there have been some years when the kids took in $3,000.”

However, the most important aspect of the annual event, as Russo said, “Hoops for Heart is a fun event where kids play basketball and other games depending upon the school or coordinator, learn about their heart and how to keep it healthy while raising money for the American Heart Association.”

This year’s Hoops for Heart event was much more than just kids dribbling and shooting a basketball.

“There were games like hot potato, chicken in the hen house, jumping rope, volleyball and the Human Knot,” Russo explained. “Two students, Caitlyn Zinni and Trista Clark were honored for bringing in the most donations.”

Entertainment for Hoops for Heart 2018 included music and DJ booth that was expertly manned by popular Panthers like Zachary Zambarano, Kelsey Scott, Maikou Kue, Matt Eisemann and Lauren Papa.

“The mission, though, is to have fun and learn how important it is to stay healthy,” Russo said. “It’s also about making a difference in the lives of others.”

In some cases, some of the money raised in similar events that are held around the country like Jump Rope for Heart/Hoops for Heart, goes to helping children who receive assistance from the American Heart Association.