Silver & Black Give Back today named five student-led groups as this year’s 2013-14 Team Up Challenge Champions awarding $20,000 to each. Last fall, 20 Team Up Challenge semifinalists received $2,500 to help start their service learning projects. The five Champions were selected based on presentations made to the Team Up Challenge review committee, online voting and overall commitment to making a community impact over the course of the academic year.
2013-14 TEAM UP CHALLENGE CHAMPIONS:
Harris Middle School (NEISD): The Harris Middle School Green Team worked to expand their garden this year. The class maintains the Harris Community Garden, which harvests organic produce and has student-led composting and vermicomposting teams. The group regularly hosts community education classes to teach their peers and adults how to create their own garden. Additionally, the group hosts weekly farmers markets with items from the Harris Community Garden. With the $20,000 the group plans to install a state of the art greenhouse and an outdoor kitchen to offer summer cooking classes.
Rodriguez Elementary School (Seguin ISD): The second graders at Rodriguez Elementary School started Baking with Books to read books that correspond to curriculum and bake a recipe that relates to that book. The group visited different community organizations to deliver their baked goods, learn about the services provided and to volunteer with the organization. Baking with Books visited a senior citizens center, the local fire department, the humane society and more throughout the school year. The group plans to use the award money to continue their outreach efforts.
Stevens High School (NISD): When the Gifted/Talent Leadership program discovered that several hundred students at their campus have family members deployed abroad in our Armed Services the group created Operation From Stevens With Love. The program works to send custom-made care packages to soldiers overseas. The group recruited the entire Stevens campus of more than 3,000 students in the project, to include high school newspapers, recordings of band performances and the essentials like socks and shampoo in care packages. With the $20,000, Operation from Stevens With Love will continue sending care packages and grow the program to include the feeder middle and elementary schools.
Wilson Elementary School (SAISD): Wilson Elementary is close to being considered within a food desert, meaning no grocery store is located within a mile of the campus. The students decided to create a Garden Club and planted 16 garden beds to harvest fall, winter and spring crops. The students provide their fresh produce – which included over 60 pounds of lettuce, broccoli, beets, carrots, peas and more – to families of students at the school who may not be able to afford fresh, organic produce. With the $20,000 the group will be able to operate their community garden throughout the summer, start a young master gardeners program and continue to maintain their gardens for years to come.
Zachry Middle School (NISD): Zachry Middle School’s Community of Readers wants to increase literacy levels within their district. The group has partnered with Knowlton Elementary, one of their feeder schools, to start an after school mentor program. The Zachry Middle School students visit Knowlton Elementary every other week to read with the children. The group discovered many students do not own age appropriate books at home. As part of the project, Zachry students read a book together with Knowlton students and each Knowlton student takes a copy of that book home with them. With the $20,000 the group will be able to expand their reading program to other elementary schools within their district.
The Team Up Challenge encourages students to apply what they are learning in the classroom to the real world, bringing education alive in powerful ways. Students create projects that address needs that will help improve their community in one of five categories: Arts & Culture, Education, Environment, Health & Wellness or Uniformed Services. As a premier initiative of Silver & Black Give Back, Spurs and Rampage players have worked alongside the students to help bring their vision to life. Visit TeamUpChallenge.com for videos and photos of Spurs and Rampage players that Teamed Up with various projects throughout the year.
Silver & Black Give Back is a 501(c)(3) public charity that invests in the community in partnership with the entire Spurs Sports & Entertainment family of teams. For more than 25 years our players, coaches and staff have focused on fostering young talent and enriching the community by encouraging local youth to become responsible adults and give back through programs like Spurs Youth Basketball League and Team Up Challenge. Together, our community has the power to empower and create lasting change throughout San Antonio. More information on Silver & Black Give Back can be found at SBGB.org.