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CALGARY, AB, Sept. 13, 2023 – The international charity, Classroom Champions, based in Calgary, Alta, that focuses on social and emotional learning (SEL) today announced a fundraising achievement of $3.6M raised by a group of Western Canadian energy companies. The group aptly named, the “Energizing Communities Collective,” led by CFO at Spartan Delta Corp., Geri Greenall, and Classroom Champions founder and Olympic gold medalist Steve Mesler, includes donations from 23 organizations. From otherwise competing energy companies, this synergetic approach brings the award-winning SEL curriculum and athlete mentorship program featuring the likes of 2x Olympian in skeleton and mentor, Mirela Rahneva, and Paralympic gold medalist in track and field and mentor, Nate Riech, into hundreds of communities and schools across Alberta, Saskatchewan and B.C. This inspiring student experience also includes customized programming created in partnership with Indigenous communities, Knowledge Keepers, youth and role models.
“What the energy industry has done for their communities through The Collective is simply unprecedented. Tens of thousands of kids across our provinces, including those on First Nations Reserves, and on Métis Settlements, will have the chance to learn with Canada’s best for years to come,” said Steve Mesler, Olympic gold medalist, co-founder and CEO of Classroom Champions. “We are a chosen partner of hundreds of communities and schools to proactively support the mental health and academic outcomes for kids. Thanks to The Collective, we are humbled to continue to be a trusted resource to help kids, support teachers, and engage families.”
The Collective’s funding will help give equal access to programming for schools to participate, making communities more safe, inclusive and connected. Through ongoing measurement, research shows that teachers implementing the program have seen an 84 per cent increase in student engagement; that 68 per cent of teachers reported improved student grades and that 58 per cent of teachers reported improved student attendance. Research also shows that when students learn healthy habits and skills as children, they develop into emotionally intelligent and empathetic leaders as adults. Data demonstrates that when students carry these traits, they have lower rates of depression and anxiety, lower dropout rates, and higher grades.
“I have a history of volunteering with organizations that support children who have experienced trauma,” said Geri Greenall. “When I first learned of Classroom Champions, I realized their work is a preventative approach to providing a well-rounded educational experience especially for students in rural settings who otherwise might not be exposed to dynamic social environments or experiences. I am a proud participant in the energy industry and I continue to be even more proud of the level of support The Collective has shown. Together, we stand tall to our responsibility in advancing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Call to Action ensuring a positive future for the areas in which we’re collectively operating.”
“Pembina is excited to support this important initiative to include Indigenous values, knowledge from Elders, and traditional stories into customized learning for students across many of the communities where we live and operate,” said Ian Balfour, Vice President, NGL Services at Pembina Pipeline, a gold sponsor. “We are honoured to partner with Classroom Champions in support of empowering children to thrive academically, socially and emotionally.”
Classroom Champions recognized leaders from every company in The Collective with a medallion presentation at the fifth annual Champion Chats luncheon event held in Calgary earlier this summer. “It was special to recognize this group, and share custom made Blackfoot beadwork medallions by Lucille Wright from Siksika Nation honouring the tradition and culture of our partner communities,” said Steve Mesler.
Dr. Quintina Bearchief-Adolpho MS PhD, mental health clinical services lead, Siksika Health, who leads groundbreaking work on The Nation supporting youth/mental health issues spoke on stage with Steve Mesler at Champion Chats. “We’ve seen this program on The Nation developing brave and courageous students where we know that their mentor may be the only person at the moment there for them.”
With it being back-to-school season for Classroom Champions, celebrating this funding boost to garner awareness is essential to the success of their program and its impact. They are running special outreach to the five main targeted areas to connect interested schools and educators with evidence-based programming at no cost due to The Collective’s sponsorship. Click here to refer a teacher or classroom, or to learn more.
The Collective has a goal of ensuring every single community this industry operates in is provided with Classroom Champions programs at no cost for the next three years. “My goal is to get every energy company in Calgary to be part of this,” said Geri Greenall.
For more information, visit ClassroomChampions.org/western-canada.
ABOUT THE COLLECTIVE’S WESTERN CANADIAN PARTNERS
ARC Resources Ltd.
Crescent Point Energy
Headwater Exploration Inc.
Pembina Pipeline Corporation
Spartan Delta Corp.
Tamarack Valley Energy Ltd.
Tourmaline Oil Corp.
Silver, Bronze and other Supporters Listed here.
ABOUT ENERGIZING COMMUNITIES COLLECTIVE
Energizing Communities Collective is a group of 23 energy companies that have joined together to support the work of Classroom Champions. Since 2022, they have raised $3.6M towards a goal of $4M to invest in and support youth in communities across Western Canada. The industry coming together will specifically provide mentorship and curriculum programs to their operating areas across B.C., Alberta, and Saskatchewan making long-lasting positive impact. To further bring The Collective to life, in 2023 an award was created to recognize long-standing teachers who are integral to the proven success of the program. The recipients of the Award are celebrated for their outstanding commitment to their students and communities while contributing to Classroom Champions’ mission to help mentor one million students by 2026. Two teachers were honoured (June 2023) for their legacy of championing Classroom Champions.
ABOUT CLASSROOM CHAMPIONS
Classroom Champions is a nonprofit charity that has impacted over a million students to thrive socially, emotionally, and academically through the mentorship and mindsets of world-class athletes. Working with 300+ Olympic, Paralympic, university student-athletes, professional athletes who volunteer as mentors and over 5,000 teachers, Classroom Champions programs and curriculum has worked with predominantly underserved, rural, and Indigenous communities across the continent. 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.
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Jacqueline Tyler, Canadian Publicist