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.”