Conversation: United Way of Tampa Bay Using Sports to Extend its Message and Engage its Community

If you remember just two sentences of this conversation, then file this away, “We always talk about the negative aspect of athletes in the news, but there’s so much positive going on. There’s a lot of good people in these organizations, from their management down to the players, that really are making headway in supporting community efforts throughout the Tampa Bay area.”

This is exactly why the United Way of Tampa Bay has been utilizing the city’s top three sports teams, the Rays, Buccaneers and Lightning. Progress Avenue recently chatted with United Way of Tampa Bay Marketing Manager Tim Bodamer about the organization’s efforts in sports.

Progress Avenue: Fresh off their World Series appearance, the Rays are the darlings of Tampa. You shot a recent PSA with manager Joe Maddon, but what are some other initiatives with the Rays?

Tim Bodamer: Our partnership with the Rays is totally unique. It’s nothing that is duplicated. The wonderful thing about our success with the Rays is we do something totally independent of anything else they do through their foundation and through their community efforts. It is really above and beyond anything else. The partnership we have for our Workplace campaign kickoff, for some of things that umbrella from that is a big part of it. [Read more…]

Conversation: A Perfect Birthday Gift is Supporting Kerosene Lamp Foundation’s March $10K Campaign

Kerosene Lamp Foundation

As you’re spending time trying to figure out what the perfect birthday give would be for someone, why don’t you consider donating to that person’s favorite charity? That’s exactly what Orlando Magic star Adonal Foyle hopes his friends and fans do to celebrate his birthday. Foyle, who turned 34 on March 9, kicked off a March $10K Campaign to support his Kerosene Lamp Foundation.

Foyle is hoping to raise $10,000 to support his foundation’s Athletics & Academics Camps in his native St. Vincent and the Grenadines. These camps go beyond teaching basketball skills, to also address the areas of health, particularly HIV/AIDS and nutrition, as well as social skills and education, with a focus on literacy.

Progress Avenue recently caught up with Kerosene Lamp Foundation Executive Director Shiyana Valentine to discuss the campaign, and the camps:

Progress Avenue: I think it’s a nice gesture to celebrate Adonal’s birthday with a fundraising effort. But how do people contribute to the March $10K Campaign?

Shiyana Valentine: We’ve been doing a lot of online stuff, getting the word out that way and using several viral marketing techniques. We’re holding a raffle and calling it the Manic March Giveaway, sort of like the deriverative of March Madness. Each raffle ticket is $10, and we’ll be drawing winners for such prizes as an Adonal Foyle NBA jersey signed by him, Dwight Howard’s basketball shoe, or Mickael Pietrus’ autographed shoe. [Read more…]

Conversation: Sports4Kids Founder Jill Vialet Discusses a New Brand of Play in Schools

Sports4Kids

While there is a national concern about the apparent decline in the physical fitness of our youth, there is one group that is bringing a new way to play to schools across the country. Sports4Kids, based in Oakland, Calif., is rethinking school recess and taking its new brand play to low-income public schools. Sports4Kids has programs in seven cities now, but that number will grow to 27 by the 2011-12 school year.

To say this is just about “play” might be an understatement. For one, the Sports4Kids brand of play teaches kids self-regulation, which is unquestionably a life-long lesson. Also, Sports4Kids really gets into the trenches with its partner schools. From creating structured, safe and inclusive environments, to working to reintroduce physical activity into the school curriculum, and to developing after-school physical activity and academic enhancement programs, Sports4Kids is having a major impact on kids. It’s no wonder they’re expanding.

Progress Avenue recently chatted with Jill Vialet, the founder and president of Sports4Kids:

Progress Avenue: Your organization offers a “brand of play.” What do you mean when you say “brand”?

Jill Vialet: We talk about our unique brand of play, which is all about kids taking responsibility and understanding their role in fun, inclusive games. We’re not opposed to competition. We do a lot of competitive games, but we try and do it in a way that takes some of the intensity out of being competitive. We also do a lot of non-competitive games and we do everything in between. [Read more…]

Conversation: WBCA’s Smith Discusses the Pink Zone

Hartford vs. Marist

How could you miss an entire week of pink uniforms in women’s college basketball? The increasingly-popular Pink Zone initiative recently wrapped up its third year. The mission is the same: to assist in raising breast cancer awareness on the court, across campuses, in communities and beyond. But the numbers are growing. Results are still trickling in, but the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association expects to set records for total participants and funds raised in 2009.

The passion for this initiative stems from the fact that several coaches have battled breast cancer. Perhaps the most notable of these is Kay Yow, the former N.C. State coach who passed away in January. Yow helped pioneer the Pink Zone, and now it’s her lasting contribution. The WBCA encourages the Pink Zone participants to support the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund.

Progress Avenue recently chatted with Megan Smith, the Manager of New Initiatives for the WBCA, about the Pink Zone:

Progress Avenue: Kay Yow was definitely a popular coach who championed breast cancer awareness and research. How did she help drive interest and participation in the Pink Zone?

Megan Smith: I think when she went through her third bout, a lot of the women’s basketball community at that point really rallied around her. This initiative started in 2007 and had 120 participants, and last year over 1200. So I think that was the big push the second year, rallying behind Coach Yow when she was battling it for the third time. With her passing, probably the biggest thing was more and more schools are donating to the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund.

After her memorial service and seeing that she was such a humble and special person, that inspired so many people across the nation. I think a lot of people felt obligated to help the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund. And the women’s basketball community’s response was incredible. All the schools that were involved really went over and beyond with a lot of their Pink Zone events. It was just really neat to see everything come together. [Read more…]