Sacred Heart University - Recipient of the National SAAC Award of Excellence
The 2009-2010 Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC) has a made a commitment to volunteer at the Dunbar School in Bridgeport. The hope is that their activity will help the school improve academic performance. The Dunbar school is a K-8 school located on the east side of the city and is a failing school- meaning that less than half of their students meet proficiency or higher. The SAAC activities are part of the MOTIVATE (Meaningful Opportunities to Inspire Vision and Achieving Total Excellence) project at the school that was initiated by behavior management specialist Derrick Lewis, an educator at Dunbar.
The mission of the MOTIVATE Project is to socially empower and impact students of urban communities. The MOTIVATE Project is designed to help students gain, maintain, and enhance their personal sense of responsibility, pride and worth as it pertains to academic success through mentoring, educating, and tutoring those students who struggle academically in basic academic areas.
SAAC sends 10-15 student-athletes every school day to assist with reading, math, and one-on-one tutoring. There are over 50 student-athletes volunteering this semester.
Throughout the year, SAAC is planning other projects with the Dunbar school. They are currently conducting a book drive for the school to help fill their library shelves. In the spring, the SAAC plans to host a field day at the schoolGeorge Washington University, Georgetown Univerisity, Howard University Recipients of the National SAAC Award of Excellence
These three institutions have teamed up to create an incredible program called the Grassroot Project.
The Grassroot Project is a non-profit, student run HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention program, using the role model status of Division I college students and the popular platform of sports to empower at-risk youths with the knowledge and skills to lead healthy lives.
The Grassroot Project provides important HIV/AIDS prevention messages and life skills training to at-risk youth in the community. The curriculum focuses on creating a fun, friendly and safe environment in which youth learn healthy life styles. The programs will allow the kids to share their feelings and beliefs, increase knowledge, and develop healthy attitudes and behaviors pertaining to HIV/AIDS through the use of interactive games and activities. By using the vehicle of sports to influence social change, student athletes will use the curriculum to combat the high rate of HIV/AIDS in D.C.
The program hopes to expand to the five other NCAA Division I institutions in the D.C. metropolitan area by spring of 2010. The Grassroot Program is part of Athletes United for Social Justice, a non-profit organization dedicated to using college athletes to empower youth through sports.