A cheque-presentation event at Surrey’s Green Timbers Elementary on Wednesday involved school students and, standing from left to right, Chethan Lakshman (vice-president, external affairs, Shaw Communications), Laurie Larsen (Surrey Board of Education chair), Marvin Hunt (MLA Surrey-Cloverdale), Scott Tupper (captain, Team Canada field hockey) and Steve Mesler (co-founder, president and CEO, Classroom Champions). (submitted photo)

EDUCATION

Athletes to mentor Surrey students with $720K boost for ‘Classroom Champions’

Program will involve close to 6,000 students and 150 teachers over the next three years

An initiative that connects Surrey school kids with high-level athletes was given a $720,000 boost on Wednesday (Nov. 13).

The funding, from Shaw Communications, will allow students from across Surrey school district to engage with Olympians and Paralympians through the Classroom Champions mentorship program.

It will involve close to 6,000 students and 150 teachers over the next three years.

A cheque-presentation event was held at Green Timbers Elementary in Surrey, with Team Canada field hockey captain Scott Tupper among those in attendance.

Classrooms will be paired with athlete mentors for the duration of the school year, and students will participate in “virtual mentorship sessions to help students strengthen their social and emotional skills, ultimately resulting in higher student engagement, improved academic achievement and a decrease in bullying,” according to a news release.

Over the past nine years, Classroom Champions athlete mentors have worked with more than 2,800 Western Canadian students, among close to a million across North America, the release says.

The goal is to teach kids focus, decision making and belonging “so they can shine in and out of school.”

In Classroom Champions’ “scaled” mentorship platform, athletes provide monthly videos to their student mentees on topics ranging from leadership to perseverance, connected via live video chats and in-person school visits, and messaged on public and private social media. Program details are posted to classroomchampions.org.

“Shaw Communications came forward with an incredible plan of support, allowing us to make sure more kids in Surrey feel connected to a mentor who understands the lessons needed to succeed in school and in life,” Steve Mesler, founder and CEO of Classroom Champions, said in the news release.

“We wanted to expand in Surrey for a long time,” Mesler added. “The administration and teachers were excited, and we just needed the resources from the right partner.”

Laurie Larsen, chair of Surrey Board of Education, said she’s excited the program will be expanded across the school district.

“We have heard such positive stories from our teachers previously involved in the program, and seen firsthand the incredible impact this program has had on our students,” Larsen said. “We look forward to building on this success as we bring more Surrey classrooms into the program.

“With Classroom Champions, students are improving their goal setting and their perseverance and are more engaged as they see and hear from their athlete mentors the work it takes to succeed whether in sport, in the community, at home or in school.”



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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