June 24, 2011
GREENSBORO, N.C. – The Atlantic Coast Conference’s “Community Connections” program saw much success in its first year of implementation, sponsoring educational and mentoring activities and donating books in conjunction with 19 conference championships across four states. The program reached a dozen schools and youth programs across Georgia, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Virginia.
“The ACC Community Connections initiative was created as a way for our student-athletes and member schools to give back to the communities that host ACC Championships,” stated Commissioner John Swofford. “In addition to teaching lessons of teamwork, adversity, competition, sportsmanship, triumph and defeat, it was a terrific opportunity for the student-athletes to serve as mentors and leaders throughout our league’s footprint.”
The initiative aims to teach life lessons to elementary and middle school students in the communities in which the league holds its conference championships. This year, team representatives from ACC member institutions either traveled to elementary schools in the area or had schools and youth programs visit the championship sites to discuss topics such as the importance healthy living and sportsmanship.
The outreach sessions consisted of the reading of a book followed by a question-and-answer session with ACC team representatives. An educational handout was also distributed to the students that incorporated highlighted points of emphasis and quotations from the student-athletes. The handout also provided the opportunity to gain free or discounted admission to the respective championship.
The league-wide initiative first launched at the 2010 ACC Cross Country Championships in Boston, Mass., with books being donated to Mather Elementary School in a presentation made at the Championships’ award ceremony. More than 200 books were donated throughout the year by the ACC and its member schools to elementary schools and organizations, including the Boys and Girls Club and YMCA.
One of the final 2010-11 “Community Connections” sessions occurred at the 2011 ACC Baseball Championship at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, N.C., with approximately 4,000 local elementary and middle school students visiting the stadium over three days to participate in various activities with team representatives from six member schools.
The schools and organizations involved in “ACC Community Connections” for 2010-11 were: Mather Elementary School (Boston, Mass.); Old Town Global Academy (Winston Salem, N.C.); Kingswood Elementary School (Cary, N.C.); Neighborhood Charter School (Atlanta, Ga.); Hollymead Elementary School (Charlottesville, Va.); Margaret Beeks Elementary School (Blacksburg, Va.); Gilbert Linkous Elementary School (Blacksburg, Va.); Millis Road Elementary School (Greensboro, N.C.); Montgomery County Communities in Schools (N.C.); John Avery Boys and Girls Club (N.C.); Cary YMCA (Cary, N.C.); and Bright Futures Academy (Atlanta, Ga.).