We’re Steve and Leigh, the co-founders of Classroom Champions! While competing in bobsled for Team USA, Steve would visit schools to talk about the lessons and experiences that had brought him to the top of his sport. Steve's view was that if he could change one kid’s life with his experience and his stories, it would be worth it. But then Leigh asked him, what if he could make a bigger impact? What if he could be a mentor, a consistent presence in kids’ lives?
In 2009, entering Steve’s final Olympic Games where he won a gold medal, he and Leigh decided to bring a handful of Olympic and Paralympic mentors into classrooms. And the first stage of Classroom Champions was born, featuring one mentor (Steve) and nine classrooms scattered across the United States and Canada. Since then, Classroom Champions has grown exponentially and experienced incredible moments including:
Hosting live video chats from the Olympic Village at the 2010 and 2018 Olympic Winter Games
Winning the International Olympic Committee’s Olympism Award
Receiving the International Fair Play Diploma - the only North American NGO to win the award
Partnering with the Costa Rican Olympic Committee and Fundacion Joven to serve schools in Costa Rica
Creating Team Canada Champion Chats with the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Committees
Launching Classroom Champions Circle program in schools with high percentages of Indigenous students
Today, Classroom Champions has connected 200 Olympians, Paralympians, College Student-Athletes and Pro Athletes to millions of students in over 1,800 classrooms across 34 U.S. states, 8 Canadian provinces, St. Lucia, Grenada, Dominica, Costa Rica, and American military installations in Germany.
And it works! Just see our impact on student mental health, wellness, and academic achievement here.
Are you a teacher and want to learn more? Try out Classroom Champions today! Together, we can help our kids become better and better.
Olympic Gold Medalist
Dr. Leigh Parise
Partners and sponsors are the bedrock of all we do. We offer a host of existing national and local sponsorship and partnership opportunities including sponsoring a classroom, an event, arranging an in-kind contribution, supporting a local school district or division, or can work with you to create a unique collaboration that aligns your organization’s aspirations with those of Classroom Champions.
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