Classroom Champions

 In PVF News

Guest Post by James Higa, Executive Director of PVF

It’s less than one year for the start of the 2020 Olympic Summer Games in Tokyo. Sports and athletes have always been a source of inspiration and aspiration for kids around the world.

I first met Steve Mesler, three-time Olympian and World Champion, shortly after he won the gold medal for Team USA in bobsleigh at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. The gold medal certainly impressed me but more impressive was his dogged pursuit of a dream to have his fellow athletes mentor kids. 

He created Classroom Champions to match athletes with a classroom for an entire school year of scaled mentorship through video, live chats, online communities, and visits. The athletes help improve student connection and engagement in the classroom, decrease bullying, and boosting achievement. What I like about the program is that it’s not professional and celebrity athlete focused but the athletes are volunteer Olympians, Paralympions, and college athletes who are more accessible and relatable to the kids. Steve has grown this program to 125 mentor athletes reaching over a 1,000 classrooms in  32 states reaching more than 25,000 kids. Teachers who participate in the program are reporting a 63% reduction in bullying. 94% of teachers report an improvement in student grades, and 100% report that their classroom athlete-mentor helped their students increase their resilience in the face of obstacles.


Steve wants to take Classroom Champions to the next level by developing an online tech platform to automate and scale this mentorship concept.  An athlete can be matched to a classroom, prompted to record and upload their personal video curriculum, and scheduled for live video chats and visits, without impinging on their heavy training and academic schedules.

He wants to raise $200K to fund this development. There’s no question that Steve is an all-star, a gold medal one at that. If you are interested in helping kids feel like someone they look up to cares about them, sees them, and encourages them to strive and work towards their dreams, please reach out to us about supporting Classroom Champions.

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