This project is part of the Black History Month celebration because it supports a Black teacher or a school where the majority of the students are Black.
We are network of 17 schools across inner city NY and NJ. I feel it is very important for our students have an opportunity to experience atypical sports like fencing where they can learn discipline and strategic thinking while having Olympian mentors and role models.
Our students come from some of the most vulnerable urban neighborhoods in the United States- Harlem, the Bronx, Camden NJ.
Socio-economic disparities mean that many of our students lack exposure to new activities. In 2013, we collaborated with Fencing In The Schools (FITS) to teach not just Physical Education, but also the valuable life lessons the program provides. Fencing in the Schools brings Olympian mentors into our schools, provides teacher training and supplies our PE departments with fencing equipment specially designed for young people.
Over the past two years, FITS has served eight of our schools. Its impact is unmistakable. After fencing, students are more focused, disciplined, and confident. We want to continue this important program, and ensure it reaches all of our students. This year, in addition to growing the PE program to serve 17 schools, FITS will launch two varsity fencing teams in our Harlem and Bronx high schools- a first for low-income, inner-city schools.
Thanks to Dicks Sporting Goods and Sports Matters, every dollar you donate will be matched! However, in order to unlock this support, we will need to raise at least half of the funds. Please give generously. These funds will bring fencing to all of our 5,000 plus students. This will cover fencing equipment for each school, professional development for all of our PE teachers, Olympian visits and mentorship- as well as funding the varsity teams.
The benefits of expanding this program are numerous. Fencing helps combat childhood obesity, which disproportionately affects inner-city youth. It increases academic performance and executive function. Connecting to Olympic fencers and the larger fencing community builds student confidence and allow students to engage with fencing as a lifetime sport. The FITS program also helps students develops valuable habits and life skills. See (video link) for more information about our school and FITS.
By the end of the year, the program will build character skills such as grit, growth mindset and discipline among our students.
PE teachers will be able to effectively teach fencing and the character traits that go along with it. School leaders across our network will see the academic benefits of healthy, focused students. And of course, our new varsity teams will smash the competition.
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