Krishnan designs ga-ga ball pit for Park Village Elementary

In recognition of his work spearheading the design and construction of a ga-ga (variant of dodge ball) pit for Park Village Elementary, Arvind Krishnan (11) received the President’s Volunteer Service Award last month.

Krishnan initially devised the idea for the ga-ga pit for his Eagle Scouts Service Project in January of 2017 after watching former first lady Michelle Obama’s 2010 “Let’s Move” speech advocating for the prevention of childhood obesity through the adoption of healthier lifestyles.

“Many young students are highly technological with advanced electronic devices and are very focused on that and not on exercising,” Krishnan said. “So, I thought, ‘Let’s devise a fun way for them to exercise instead of just staying in a gym or making them run laps,’ since those options aren’t very fun.”

After consulting his Boy Scout committee, Krishnan brainstormed the pit’s design, incorporating input from Park Village Principal Mike Mosgrove and various PE teachers. Eventually, they reached a consensus on an outdoor, removable pit.

“I needed to make the pit removable and maintain the octagon shape which was truly difficult,” Krishnan said. “It took me a few weeks until I came up with the design for the hinges so the space can be used for other purposes.”

Furthermore, Krishnan also consulted with the PQ Council, which eventually gave him a grant to fund his project.

“Since the pit would be implemented into their community for younger kids, [the PQ council] wanted to see how it would impact one school so that maybe they could implement it in many other schools,” Krishnan said.

Following several months of fundraising and construction with the help of friends and fellow Eagle Scouts, Krishnan’s pit was officially incorporated into Park Village’s Physical Education (P.E.) curriculum last August.

“[Students are] learning to play in it and seeing that it’s a form of exercise while they’re still having fun,” Krishnan said. “I am trying to put it in other elementary schools so we can get more kids exercising and off their electronic devices.”

Seeing as he completed more than 250 hours of community service, Krishnan’s Scoutmaster and mom encouraged him to apply for the President’s Volunteer Service Award as well.

According to the official website, this award–established by the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation in 2003 — aims to “recognize the importance of volunteers to America’s strength and national identity, and furthermore, to honor the deeply invested volunteers whose service is multiplied through the inspiration they give others.”

Krishnan submitted his application in October, with Principal Tina Ziegler as his sponsor. Applicants were required to address the inspiration behind their project as well as how they believed the project impacted their community.

“The award itself was a huge accomplishment for me [and] it feels good that people will be able to see what we as students can do to help younger generations get healthier,” Krishnan said. “I am glad to have been a part of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Movement and hope to continue to be a driving force in helping her get more students in a healthier state.”