Niwot High School Booster Club plans wellness initiative
July 22, 2020
At Niwot High School, there are two parent groups that aim to support students--the Niwot High School Education Foundation and the Niwot High School Boosters, Inc., which supports all athletic teams and other clubs on campus. In fact, in part thanks to the booster club's efforts, Mile High Magazine has ranked Niwot's 4A athletic program number one in Colorado for the past two years.
Building on this momentum, booster president Donna Blondeau is excited to get the community involved with the club's new student wellness initiative. "We really want to allow for our students to have lifelong learning in their health skills, not just their academic skills," Blondeau said
The initiative has two focuses: improving the athletic performance center (the weight room building near the track) as well as the wrestling loft, and creating an outdoor seating area on the west side of the school.
"We've improved the interior over the past few years; we're looking to improve the exterior as well," Blondeau said.
The Boosters kicked off the initiative with a fundraising event in March, but due to COVID-19, they've had to adjust their strategies and outreach. As just one example, the club has put an emphasis on the athletic center renovations, with the rationale that the weight room is used by athletes and physical education classes alike. Blondeau said, "There are people in and out of there all day long, it's a core piece of the wellness of our students, which is why we've prioritized that."
The Educational Foundation, in turn, has taken the initiative with the seating area. The plan for this space is to increase seating with tables/benches and to add trees, making it a "student oasis." Blondeau said that students don't have many options for outdoor seating, which limits their ability to take advantage of the generally sunny Colorado weather.
This is especially important to student wellness since being outdoors has been shown to improve mood and reduce anxiety. It will hopefully give students more options to gather, especially with COVID-19 limiting how many people can be in one space at a time, and with evidence mounting that transmission is less likely to occur in an outdoor setting than an indoor one.
Unfortunately, the seating area's progress has stalled, given the limited fundraising opportunities since the pandemic and lockdowns started. The Education Foundation wants to wait until they have the money to do it right. "The vision is to have a space where students would really enjoy spending time," said Blondeau. She further explained that their usual ways of outreach-a barbeque at the start of the school year, meeting with teachers, etc.-will be difficult.
While the Boosters and Education Foundation are still accepting donations, the two groups are relying on the community to spread the word about the initiative.
It is also important to note that with the donations received thus far, the Boosters have some of the athletic equipment already ordered. Through a partnership with BSN Sports in Lakewood, they have been able to efficiently obtain the supplies. "The funds are being used really well," Blondeau said.
If you're interested in contributing to the Niwot High School Wellness Initiative, there are donation links at both the booster club's website https://www.nhsboosters.net/ and the Education Foundation's page https://www.nhsef.org/.
"The healthier our school environment is for our students, the stronger our overall community, its businesses and NHS area property values, [will be]" said Blondeau.