BUFFALO (October 3, 2019) – The Buffalo Bills Foundation and Classroom Champions kicked off their third year of partnership this week by introducing the Classroom Champions Buffalo Bills mentors for the 2019-2020 school year: offensive tackle Dion Dawkins, long snapper Reid Ferguson, and defensive end Eddie Yarbrough who all return for their third year with the program. Thanks to the support of new sponsors Delaware North and National Grid, they will now mentor 22 Buffalo Public Schools classrooms ranging from kindergarten to 8th grade this year. At the end of the program, student participants will visit New Era Field to show their progress and meet their mentors.Since the start of the Classroom Champions Buffalo Bills Program, Buffalo Bills players have mentored almost 1,000 students from Western New York. Through Classroom Champions Scaled Mentorship platform - Bills players have provided 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. Learn more about the Classroom Champions Buffalo Bills Program here.
"Over the last two years, we've seen first-hand how amazing of an impact our athletes have had in classrooms across Buffalo through our partnership with Classroom Champions," says Gretchen Geitter, president of the Buffalo Bills Foundation. "We are excited to have Dion, Reid, and Eddie back in the program this year bringing social emotional learning topics to life through their experiences, and we are excited to expand to even more classrooms and schools."
“We’re excited by the impact we’ve been able to have in schools across Western New York thanks to our amazing Buffalo Bills players and the support of the Buffalo Bills Foundation,” says Steve Mesler, co-founder of Classroom Champions and Buffalo-born Olympic gold medalist bobsledder. “We know that when kids feel connected to a mentor, especially athletes like Dion, Reid, and Eddie who understand the steps needed to succeed, they perform better in school and in life.”
“Whether we’re working with customers to help them achieve energy efficiency goals, making sure neighborhoods have reliable electric power, or supporting local community initiatives, the spirit of teamwork is prevalent throughout our company, and what makes the Classroom Champions Pro Athlete Program a natural fit for us,” said National Grid regional director Ken Kujawa. “We look forward to working with our teammates at the Buffalo Bills and Delaware North to build an environment of leadership, mentorship and skill development.”
“Delaware North is committed to working with our community partners to develop innovative and engaging approaches to help students across Western New York,” said Lou Jacobs, Co-CEO of Delaware North. “Powered by the Buffalo Bills, the Classroom Champions program creates a unique mentorship and confidence building experience for students. We are thrilled to play a supporting role.”
To apply to bring Classroom Champions to your school, visit: https://www.classroomchampions.org/join-classroom-champions/About Classroom Champions Classroom Champions is a non-profit dedicated to connecting students with world-class athlete mentors. Classroom Champions supports students in academic, social and emotional learning (SEL), and works with teachers and families to encourage children to achieve successful futures. Working predominantly within low socioeconomic urban, rural and Indigenous communities, Classroom Champions has grown exponentially—mentoring more than 35,000 students across Canada and the US and working with 150+ Olympic, Paralympic, university student-athletes, and professional athletes who volunteer as mentors. Students participating in Classroom Champions see significant improvements in the classroom, teachers see improved engagement, and athlete mentors learn new skills to prepare for life after sport. Learn more at: www.classroomchampions.org.About the Buffalo Bills FoundationThe Buffalo Bills Foundation is dedicated to supporting organizations that are committed to improving the quality of life in our region. The foundation actively works to facilitate philanthropic investment in our community, while supporting NFL and team charitable initiatives.About National GridNational Grid (LSE: NG; NYSE: NGG) is an electricity, natural gas, and clean energy delivery company serving more than 20 million people through our networks in New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. We are the largest distributor of natural gas in the Northeast. National Grid also operates the systems that deliver gas and electricity across Great Britain. National Grid is transforming our electricity and natural gas networks with smarter, cleaner, and more resilient energy solutions to meet the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050. Our Northeast 80x50 Pathway is an industry-leading analysis for how to reach that goal in the states we serve, focusing on the power generation, heat, and transportation sectors. Read more about the innovative projects across our footprint in The Democratization of Energy, an eBook written by National Grid’s U.S. president, Dean Seavers. For more information please visit our website, follow us on Twitter, watch us on YouTube, friend us on Facebook and find our photos on Instagram. About Delaware NorthDelaware North is a global hospitality and entertainment company founded in 1915 and owned by the Jacobs family for more than 100 years. Delaware North operates at high-profile places such as sports and entertainment venues, national and state parks, cultural landmarks, destination resorts and restaurants, airports, and regional casinos. Our 55,000 employee associates are dedicated to delighting guests by creating the world’s best experiences today while reimagining tomorrow. Delaware North serves more than a half-billion guests each year in the sports, travel hospitality, restaurant and catering, lodging, gaming, and specialty retail industries and has annual revenue of over $3 billion. Learn more about Delaware North at www.DelawareNorth.com.