We’ve been partners with Classroom Champions for the past few years in hopes of inspiring kids to say YES to a healthy lifestyle and NO to underage drinking. This past April, we caught up with some of Classroom Champions’ participating teachers and Athlete Mentors at their annual teacher conference. We heard first-hand the inspiring stories about why mentor programs like this matter. Here’s a recap.
As Paralympic Snowboarder Michelle Salt spoke, the room got quiet. She stood behind a podium, in front of the crowd at the Classroom Champions educator conference in Calgary, AB. The teachers, other attending Olympians and sponsors were eager to hear her about her athletic success despite a near-fatal motorcycle accident that resulted in the amputation of a majority of her right leg. The audience wanted to hear her story of perseverance and resilience.
But that’s not what Michelle had in mind.
As she told her story, she reflected on all the reasons she was a Classroom Champions Athlete Mentor. The obvious came first: To give back, to make a difference, to help kids reach to their potential. She wanted to be a role model, but her expectations were surpassed in many ways.
She then explained how much the kids impacted her, and her life. The other Athlete Mentors agreed. Classroom Champions isn’t just a program that teaches kids valuable life skills, it also teaches them that there are successful, active and inspirational adults that care for them. Michelle explained how life changing it is to be a part of a community that cares so much about each other’s successes, progress and stories. For kids, it’s knowing there’s a community that will rally behind them and their accomplishments. For the athletes, it’s far greater than a “warm and fuzzy feeling” you get from doing a good deed.
For the athletes, it’s about feeling the kid’s appreciation with each lesson. It’s about feeling a deep compassion and empathy for each kid’s story. It’s about not only helping them overcome obstacles, but also giving them solutions to be their own version of a champion. It’s about being a part of their lives.
When we attended the Classroom Champions teacher conference back in April, we got the opportunity to talk with educators from across the US and Canada about their role as a Classroom Champions teacher and what that really means for their students. They gave their testimonies about how the program has impacted the lives of their students not only in the classroom, but in their lives. The teachers explained how much the kids not only look forward to each lesson, but how they rely on their athletes to guide them in the decisions they make every day.
Ask, Listen, Learn: Kids and Alcohol Don’t Mix has sponsored Classroom Champion’s Healthy Living Month for the past two years. In those years there has been an increase in the conversations among teachers and students about the dangers of underage drinking. We’re very proud and honored to partner with Classroom Champions. Find all of the Healthy Living Athlete Mentor videos here!