The Foundation for Global Sports Development Announces Partnership with Classroom Champions

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The foundation will support the education-based organization with a grant of $50,000.

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"Classroom Champions is on the forefront of harnessing technology to create an outstanding model of the athlete-student mentor relationship.” - Dr. Steven Ungerleider, GSD Executive Board Member

The Foundation for Global Sports Development (GSD) and Classroom Champions have partnered with one another to expand education and mentorship opportunities for youth in the Los Angeles area and beyond. GSD has pledged a grant to Classroom Champions in the amount of $50,000.

Dr. Steven Ungerleider, executive board member for GSD remarked, “Mentorship has been a focus of ours for a long time, and we know Classroom Champions is on the forefront of harnessing technology to create an outstanding model of the athlete-student mentor relationship.”

Classroom Champions pairs Olympic and Paralympic athletes with K-8 classrooms across North America. With guidance from Classroom Champions staff, athletes create video lessons for their students, highlighting topics such as honesty, teamwork, friendship, goal setting, leadership, and more. Each video closes with a challenge from the athlete to the students to put into action the lesson from the day. Students are also provided with newsletters, so they may share their lessons and challenges with their families. During the 2016-2017 school year, over 5,500 students in over 200 classrooms benefited from this one-of-a-kind mentorship program.

“Classroom Champions keeps my teaching relevant and engaging. My students look forward to lessons that include real world application, technology, team work, and challenges. While learning academics, my students have learned life skills, such as leadership, goal setting, and community. I am forever grateful to the Classroom Champions' community of educators and students. They have inspired me to teach what matters,” said Valentyna Banner of San Diego Global Vision Academy

Steve Mesler, three-time Olympian and Olympic gold medalist, co-founded Classroom Champions in 2009 with his sister, Dr. Leigh Parise, who holds a PhD in Education/Social Policy.

“We are thankful for the generosity of The Foundation for Global Sports Development and their belief in the impact Classroom Champions is having across North America,” says Mesler. “Their financial support will go a long way to allow our Athlete Mentor Program to deliver improved support to our volunteer Olympians and Paralympian mentors across the continent. Along with supporting our athletes, Global Sports Development is expanding impact to 150 Los Angeles area students in the most under-served areas of the city, which we could not be prouder of."

American Olympic Silver-Medalist Elana Meyers Taylor knows the importance of mentoring in the classrooms. "I believe in the impact I have in Classroom Champions because I witness my kids’ progress each school year,” says Meyers Taylor. “It is awesome to share my competitions and training from around the world with my classrooms!”

To learn more about Classroom Champions visit their site: For teachers interested in applying for the 2017-2018 school year, Classroom Champions is accepting applications through June 30th.

About Global Sports Development
Working closely with international sports federations, generous donors and committed athletes, The Foundation for Global Sports Development promotes sportsmanship, education, fair play and ethics among the world's youth. The Foundation gives special emphasis to groups and communities that are most in need or most underserved by current programs, including women, minorities and youth in areas where the risk of delinquency is particularly high. Visit to learn more.

About Classroom Champions
Classroom Champions believes kids have what it takes. Sometimes they just need a champion to help them! Founded by 2010 Olympic gold medealist, Steve Mesler, and Leigh Mesler Parise, Ph.D., Classroom Champions is a Registered Charity that teams at-risk and underserved students across North America with Olympians and Paralympians through an innovative year-long mentorship program. Classroom Champions has a strong track record of helping students stay engaged in school – a critical component in ensuring students complete their education and go on to pursue fulfilling and productive lives and careers. Classroom Champions’ success in helping to build the critical skills students need to succeed boht in and out of the classroom has earned it numerous accolades, including a World Fair Play Diploma. Learn more about Classroom Champions at and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Melanie Raffle
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