University of South Florida

College of Arts & Sciences

CAS Chronicles

The P.E. students at James Elementary School with Jenna Capuano. (Photo courtesy of Jenna Capuano)

The P.E. students at James Elementary School with Jenna Capuano. (Photo courtesy of Jenna Capuano)

Communications student initiates fundraiser to enhance local elementary school’s P.E. program and impart a meaningful message

Jenna Capuano, a senior in the Department of Communications, recently completed her senior capstone project, successfully raising more than $450 for the physical education (P.E.) program at James Elementary School in Hillsborough County. This contribution allowed the students to obtain new equipment for the program, fostering a greater appreciation for the significance of staying active while enjoying themselves.

Senior, Jenna Capuano. (Photo courtesy of Jenna Capuano)

USF Senior, Jenna Capuano. (Photo courtesy of Jenna Capuano)

The Bachelor of Arts in Communication degree program is a liberal arts degree that prepares students for ethical and effective communication in personal, professional, and diverse contexts. The senior capstone project is one of the major courses needed to achieve this degree.

Taught by professor Dr. Laurel Freidman, the capstone course aims to prepare students for real-world scenarios. It covers advanced communication skills, message analysis, and the study of culture encouraging students to become active global citizens.

Capuano focused her project on United Nations (U.N.) Goal #3, which aims to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all ages. Working in collaboration with James Elementary School, her focus was on raising money for the children’s P.E. program.  

In addition to the U.N. goal, Capuano drew inspiration for this project from her own personal life.

“My own life motivated me for this project as I have always been involved in sports and staying active. As a child, I was blessed to know how important good health and well-being is for everyone at all ages. I wanted other kids to know this and show them that people care about their health and wellbeing,” Capuano explained. “Having the right mindset about staying active when younger can truly impact their lives as they grow up. I came up with the idea of raising the funds for P.E. equipment because I know that it made my elementary experience so much better at that age. Staying healthy is supposed to be fun for elementary school aged children, having the new P.E. equipment would keep them excited and looking forward to the class.”

Capuano’s professor, Friedman, helped facilitate the introduction to James Elementary School. This connection allowed Capuano to engage with teachers and members of the P.E. program, discussing the most effective fundraising strategies. She also had the opportunity to interact with the children of the P.E. class, an experience she described as both impactful and rewarding.

Following these discussions with the elementary school, Capuano created the “Equip Our Kids” fundraiser, successfully raising over $450 in funds.

“Some strategies I implemented to promote the fund was to go crazy with posting on all of my social media accounts, creating posters and fliers to hang up around my living area, and reaching out to people directly via email or text. I was persistent with posting on my social media accounts and reaching out to people. I learned that it takes a lot of consistency with the messaging to see results. It was so fun to be able to spread the word and inform people about this fundraiser. I received good reactions from my family members and people on social media, so many generous donations came from them, and I will forever be grateful,” Capuano said.

Capuano hopes that the fundraiser will have a lasting impact on the kids at James Elementary School. She hopes that they will not only value the significance of health but also learn that acts of kindness can make a meaningful difference, reinforcing the idea that their parents, teachers, and the community work in their best interest.

Scheduled to graduate this upcoming Spring 2024, Capuano intends to carry the valuable lessons from this experience into her personal and professional endeavors.

“I hope to have the opportunity again to do something like this. It may not specifically be with the ‘Equip Our Kids’ fundraiser but maybe something similar within my profession. Kids continue to grow and will continue to learn how important good health is. If I could make more of an impact in their lives, I would absolutely be open to doing something like this again,” Capuano said.

To learn more about James Elementary School visit their website.

Return to article listing

About CAS Chronicles

CAS Chronicles is the monthly newsletter for the University of South Florida's College of Arts and Sciences, your source for the latest news, research, and events at CAS.