The following was issued by St. Luke's Magic Valley:


Jerome, ID (January 6, 2016) – Jefferson Elementary School students will get a running start on a lifetime of healthy choices thanks to a $26,000 community campaign to raise funds for a new walking path.


At 1 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 14, students will celebrate a $15,000 donation from St. Luke’s with an assembly at the school, 600 N. Fillmore in Jerome.

A $1,000 contribution from a five-member team of community leaders will also be announced. The team won the cash prize for logging 1,000 miles in the 2015 Mayor’s School Walking Challenge in October 2015. Team members are Jerome Mayor David Davis, Jerome Fire Chief Tom Hughes, St. Luke’s Jerome Administrator Curtis Maier, Chief Nursing Officer Jill Howell and Dr. Elizabeth Sugden, a family practice physician and St. Luke’s Jerome chief medical officer.

The walking path project also received $5,000 from Lowe’s, $2,500 from the Jerome Schools Foundation, and $2,500 from the school PTO.

Nearly 620 children are enrolled grades K-3 at Jefferson Elementary School. Jefferson is a federally designated Title 1 school with more than 75% of students receiving free or reduced price breakfast and lunch.

“Our goal is to encourage kids to develop a lifetime of healthy physical activity,” said Kirstin Armstrong, a two-time Olympic gold medal cyclist and St. Luke’s community health manager. “This partnership helps address a significant need in an underserved school in Jerome.”

The new walking path will be a welcome resource for students and teachers as well as residents living nearby in the neighborhood, said Armstrong. “St. Luke’s is pleased to support a community asset that will improve the health of children and adults of all ages.”

A walking path helps to meet challenges identified in a Magic Valley Community Health Needs Assessment completed by St. Luke’s in 2013. Weight management and a lack of exercise opportunities are among the area’s most significant health issues.

Jerome School Superintendent Dale Layne praised the school, district and partners for a collaborative effort that will benefit residents for years to come

"It has been exciting to see this partnership evolve and to reach the goal of increasing opportunities for children, their families and their neighbors to engage in healthy physical activity," said Dale Layne, superintendent of Jerome Schools. "When we work together, we can make a difference in our community."

Construction of the path is expected to begin in summer 2016.

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