Charles W. Christie Foundation Gives Grant to South Side Elementary

South Side Elementary located in Champaign, Illinois received a $5,000 grant from the Charles W. Christie Foundation for the purchase of wearable heart monitors for physical education class.

The Heart Zones System and Blink Armband is a fitness technology that is designed to engage students with real-time data and give physical education teachers, like Brian Wenzel of South Side Elementary, the opportunity to assess and develop programs for their classes.

Mr. Wenzel uses the 35 Blink Armbands provided by the grant for each of his eight classes. Every student is given an armband that is personalized to them for the class period. Mr. Wenzel projects the Heart Zones System dashboard on the wall, and students can view their heart rate, steps and activity data in real time.

“The students get a better understanding of how much they are working their hearts. They know when they need to get moving more and when they need to slow down,” Mr. Wenzel said. “It provides them with instant feedback on how they are moving throughout the class.”

The technology uses a threshold level to determine each user’s heart rate zones, instead of using a generic formula. This provides a more accurate and personalized fitness goal for each of South Side Elementary’s approximately 200 physical education students.

“The Heart Zones System motivates students to really have fun in physical education,” Mr. Wenzel exclaimed. “By using heart rate monitors that are ‘cool’ and providing real-time feedback during class, we see students participate and enjoy physical education in a new and exciting way!”

For more information about The Christie Foundation and the support of community grants, please visit


About The Christie Foundation

For over 30 years, the Christie Foundation has been a pioneer of medical knowledge, education, and medical services in east central Illinois. The Foundation offers scholarships to medical students, provides grants to health-related community organizations, and hosts educational seminars on a range of topics. For more information about The Christie Foundation, please visit