DES MOINES - The Iowa Hall of Pride Challenge has concluded its community service initiative this basketball season with nearly 80 schools participating in projects all across the state. Community service award winners comprising the NW, NE, SW, SE, and Central geographic areas of the state have been determined. In addition, one middle school award was chosen.
Award Winners :
NW - South Central Calhoun - Alzheimer's Association Fundraiser
NE - Cedar Rapids, Jefferson - Adopt-A-Family
SE - North Mahaska, New Sharon - Coaches vs Cancer
SW - Bedford - Lady Bulldog Food Drive
Central - Ballard - Ally oop for Autism
Middle School - W. Central Valley, Stuart - Madhatter Day/Holiday Caring & Service
The Iowa Hall of Pride in Des Moines sponsors the statewide Challenge, which grew from the Richard Jacobson Education Fund at the Hall of Pride. The initiative provides educational experiences for students and provides support to the Iowa Hall of Pride and other charitable causes. Joining the Hall of Pride as the promotional partner for the initiative was Mediacom. Participating high schools, for their part, conducted community service project(s) during the first part of the 2011-2012 basketball sport season.
"Part of the mission of the Iowa Hall of Pride is Educating the future, which includes Iowa's students," said Chad Elsberry, IHSAA and Hall of Pride Marketing Director. "The quality of the community service projects is inspiring as students and educators stepped forward to make a difference."
Schools that registered their service project(s) as part of the Iowa Pride Challenge were also eligible to participate in a Pride Scrimmage/Exhibition in boys' and / or girls' basketball. The Pride Scrimmages were held throughout the state with thousands of community members impacted by the corresponding community service projects. Hall of Pride Challenge organizers noted that many officials across the state also donated their services during the scrimmages.
"We left the service project decisions at the local level and schools responded very well," said Elsberry.
One example of a unique community service project came at South Central Calhoun where the high school girls' basketball team and coaches worked on an Alzheimer's Association Fundraiser. The local movie theatre is a volunteer operation and the team pitched in to run the theater and raise money for the Alzheimer's Association.
"We had the girls and coaches take shifts at the theatre and help with the operation of the movies for a weekend," said Dave Birks, Head Girls Basketball Coach. "Our jobs included taking tickets, running the concession stand, and cleaning up after the shows. We also made cookies and sold them at the theatre and school to raise funds. Alzheimer's bracelets were also sold."
Schools were required to do a community service project before approval was given to compete in a Pride Scrimmage where schools were permitted to use one of their three allotted basketball scrimmages to play a "regulation" game-like scenario under normal game conditions. Pride Scrimmages/Exhibitions DID NOT count on a team's record. Both the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union (IGHSAU) and Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) governing boards approved the high school scrimmage modifications and were supportive of the Hall of Pride effort.
For many participating schools, their service projects were conducted during their scrimmage in the form of a food drive or fundraiser. Thousands of non-perishable food items were collected and distributed during the holiday season.
In addition to the dozens of local charities that benefitted, a portion of the proceeds from each Pride Scrimmage were donated to the Richard Jacobson Education Fund at the Iowa Hall of Pride. Those contributions will be used to further the Hall of Pride's mission to "educate the future" through their educational programs and work with students and schools across the state. The Hall of Pride hosts several hundred field trips at its Des Moines location each year and performs school programming through the Iowa Pride Academy in schools around Iowa.