Pleasant View P.E. Group Teaches Activity, Caring for Others



BY: Micca Terrell

Local students are learning how to become more active and how to help other children hundreds of miles away. About 25 home school students gather each week to learn about exercise and team sports with PVPE, a program created by Sarah Schmiedeknecht, a licensed personal trainer, educator, and supporter of a nonprofit that helps build schools in Haiti.

Schmiedeknecht said the idea of creating a physical education group came about through her love of teaching and being active, as well as observing a need for young ones to get moving.

“As an educator, I have a heart for kids, and I saw a need and opportunity to help kids improve their health (physical and mental) through specific movements focused on building muscle and strength and improving cardiovascular health,” she said.


“I know that alternative schooling methods rarely have a group of kids large enough that they are able to play a team sport / recreational games and learn exercise techniques- such as what happens at recess at public or private schools. I asked a few friends if this is something their kids would be interested in and they overwhelmingly said yes, so I decided it would be a good idea to start a homeschool PE class. I love kids, and I love encouraging them to find things that they love doing,” Schmiedeknecht explained.

The group, which has included children in ages 5-14 so far, helps kids improve their fitness, see the connection that when they take care of their bodies, they can more easily help others. It also targets movement, improvement in baseline fitness, and general understanding of other sports. By getting away from their phones and tablets, students are able to find something to channel their frustration and grow in their sportsmanship, Schmiedeknecht said.

“Being outside, moving one’s body and pushing your body physically creates endorphins. It allows children to experiment with different movement that they may really enjoy. I also want the kids to make the connection that when they take care of their bodies, they are better able to help others. And that’s why I tied in raising money for our school in Haiti,” she said.

“I do not charge for the class, but I ask kids to collect change to fill our five-gallon bucket and donate every class. I personally match whatever is donated. So far, we have raised a few hundred dollars. We’re expecting a strong finish this spring! We also have PayPal or Venmo donations,” Schmiedeknecht said.

The school in Haiti is being built through the nonprofit, Faith and Action International. The organization was launched in 2014 by Schmiedeknecht’s friend, ordained minister Kecia Stroot. Schmiedeknecht created and manages the website and online donations and assists with social media. At the time of the organization’s inception, she and Stroot lived in Roseau, Minnesota. Stroot and her husband adopted four children from Haiti and learned of a unique opportunity from the family of one of the children.

“One of the Stroot’s adopted children’s uncle had a friend who gifted the land to Faith and Action International, on one condition: that we would build a school. He gave the land, and we built the school. Since 2014 we have been paying the teachers’ salaries throughout the year, providing uniforms and books. Each year 200 students receive an elementary education because of Faith and Action International. Recently, we were approached to buy the land to build another school in a different town in Haiti. The building process began this summer (2021),” she said.

The second school plans to open in September, in Mirebalais, Haiti, with space for 200 students. For more on Faith and Action International, visit their website: https://www.faithandactioninternational.com.

To learn more about PVPE, email Schmiedeknecht at schmiedeknecht.sarah@gmail.com or phone 989-600-7009.