What happens when elite athletes volunteer? Magic.




April 15, 2019

What happens when you ask elite athletes to volunteer their time to mentor classrooms? In 2018-2019, it was lowered student-reported bullying by 63% in Classroom Champions classes, while 95% of teachers reported improved student personal responsibility and 99% improvement in culture.But what’s not always publicized is the impact on the volunteer athletes. To end National Volunteer Week 2019, we’re celebrating all of our athlete mentors who volunteer their time to teach and bring to life social emotional learning in classrooms across North America. Hear from our athletes on what #ClassroomChampions has meant to them: Brittany Hudak (Paralympian, Canada Para Nordic Skiing):The students have really helped me see how mentorship can change lives. Both for the mentor and the mentees. Having open communication about topics like goal setting and courage really helps us consider what we are doing in our own lives to be better.Brian Krasowski (University of Pennsylvania, Wrestler):The most rewarding part of College Champions is seeing how much impact your videos have on these kids. For a lot of them, you are literally their hero and it feels great to be influencing them in a positive way when you're in that position… This program is unlike any program I've ever seen. It allows the kids to have a mentor figure for a whole year instead of just for a day, week, or month. And the positive impact of providing these kids with that mentor figure -- someone they can look up to -- in my mind is immeasurable.Megan Bozek (Olympian, US Women's Hockey): Being a Classroom Champions mentor has been so positive and rewarding. You are making a difference in their lives, and they return the favor without even realizing it. Sharing lessons, victories, downfalls, and your life with [your students] can help them, but also give you motivation to move forward. Bailey Bram (Olympian, Canadian Women's Hockey): When I met my students, a young boy who was terrified of public speaking or anything in big groups got up on stage and gave a speech. He said that he is still scared but that Classroom Champions has taught him that it's okay to be scared but it's even more rewarding to conquer your fears head on. That was incredible to watch and definitely heart warming! The impact every mentor has on their classrooms is second to none and I witnessed it first hand. I know I helped so many students overcome so many obstacles and I will forever be grateful for this opportunity. I would encourage everyone to educate themselves on the program and see for themselves the difference the CC community makes!Christian Taylor (Olympian, US Track and Field): The opportunity to work with kids all across the country and be able to make an impact in their lives -- that will last forever. Because maybe their lives would have been different if they hadn't had the opportunity to speak and hang out with their hero.Mirela "Mimi" Rahneva (Olympian, Canada Skeleton):I can see the positive influence this program has on students and classrooms. Its like no other: kids are engaged, you have highly motivated individuals checking in with the kids and it rubs off on them. All around an incredible opportunity to be a part of something MAGICAL!Charlie White (Olympian, US Figure Skating): It’s absolutely worth it to become a Classroom Champion. Nothing allows you to grow as a person or athlete more than making a positive difference in the lives of young people.Barrett Martineau (Olympian, Canada Skeleton):It was awesome to have the kids cheer me on up to, including and after the Olympics. It really felt like I was a part of something bigger than my own experience. I had a few kids that told me that they wanted to be athletes, hockey players, dancers, all kinds. They said that they never thought they could do it, but after knowing me, they felt that it didn’t matter if they made it or not because they were still going to try to do it anyways.Learn more about our volunteer athlete mentors supporting classrooms across North America at: www.classroomchampions.org