Jefferson Elementary School benefits from the nearly 2 million steps taken during the Steps for Schools walking challenges by the Boise Senator

State Senator Maryanne Jordan had knee replacement surgery on December 13, and she made it clear before she started rehabilitation what needed to happen over the next six weeks.

“I told the physical therapist that I need to be able to take 10,000 steps a day starting February 1, or you’re going to owe me $500,” Jordan said.

The $500 isn’t for Jordan — it’s what she will earn during the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health’s annual Steps for Schools walking challenge. The annual program encourages state legislators to get active, engage with their communities and earn money for a local school. Participants who average 10,000 steps a day in February earn $500 for a school.

Jordan participated in Steps for Schools all six years it has been offered, always donating to the same school, Jefferson Elementary.

“My little neighborhood school does so much with so little,” Jordan said. “Being able to go up there every year and present them with a check to do things that they might not otherwise have been able to do is kind of a fun thing.”

The school is very appreciative.

“I would like to thank Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health for the contributions that they have made for the betterment of student health at Jefferson Elementary School,” Principal Ted Totorica wrote in an email. “It makes us proud to be the recipient of the Steps for Schools walking challenge grant that Senator Maryanne Jordan donated to her neighborhood school. Our goal is be a community school that is focused on the health of our students academically, emotionally and physically.”

Senator Maryanne Jordan walks with Rep. Muffy Davis and others during a Stroll with Students that was a part of the 2020 Steps for Schools walking challenge.

Jordan certainly can relate to the importance of being wholly healthy. The physical pain from her knee was only a part of her struggle prior to the surgery.

“I love to go out and walk — it’s one of my favorite things to do,” she said. “And I was at a point where I wasn’t able to do that anymore. And it can really be depressing, it can really get to you.”

Steps for Schools was one of the motivating factors in recovery, which is progressing as planned.

“The first walk I went out for was about maybe four weeks after surgery,” she said. “I didn’t get very far or very fast, but it felt like a million bucks physically and emotionally. It’s still a little funky but every day is better. I’m able to do stairs now that was my last frontier. That was kind of a big deal.”

She also is thankful to people around the Capitol. She often found trash cans turned upside down under desks of her committee seats so she could elevate her knee while seated.

“Those first couple of weeks were kind of interesting, but people were so kind,” she said.

Jordan announced that she won’t seek re-election in the fall, making this her last hurrah in Steps for Schools. She will leave with her largest donation to Jefferson — $750. She was one of several legislators who took part in an interactive presentation to earn the additional $250 for her school. After six years of participating, Jordan will have taken nearly 2 million steps during the challenges.

“I’ve enjoyed participating and appreciate what the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health is doing and tying it to the schools is a great idea,” she said. “I’m looking forward to giving myself permission to take two days to finish a big book and just kind of see what life brings without constant commitment.”

“Physical activity at Jefferson Elementary School is more engaging than ever due to our ability to purchase supplemental materials that the students enjoy,” Principal Ted Totorica said. The students enjoy playing with the hula hoops purchased with funds the school received from Senator Maryanne Jordan from the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundadtion for Health’s Step for Schools walking challenge.

Senator Maryanne Jordan’s 2019 winnings from Steps for Schools purchased:

  • 20 softball-sized foam balls: High-density, high-bounce balls are used for throwing, games and catching skills training.
  • 8 durable rubber balls: Used for indoor or outdoor blacktop surfaces in kicking and bouncing games.
  • 5 beaded jump ropes: Used for double-dutch and long jump-roping activities.
  • 4 licorice jump ropes: These durable light weight ropes are used for taller students in fifth and sixth grades during Rhythmic Skills and Jump Roping Unit.
  • 24 heavy denim bean bags: Used in all types of games and challenges for students.
  • 8 boundary cones: Used indoors or outdoors for all kinds of challenges, stations, and safety zones.
  • 5 stopwatches: Allows for multi-split first- and second-place readings or split times with cumulative or lap split times. Used in physical education classes and fifth- and sixth-grade track events.
  • 8 whistles: Used for indoor/outdoor classroom management and for the start of challenges or races. 10 hula hoops: Used for Hula-Hut challenges, teaching self-space to kindergarten and first-grade students, station markers, hula hooping, etc
  • 2 hula hoop storage bags: Useful in organization, storage, and transporting hula-hoops.