Realizing a need for programming for elementary and middle school students during their Spring Break each year, the Center for Sport Leadership attempted to do its part in 2009 by creating Kickin' 4 Kidz, which has now become one of the program's most important annual events. In its first year, the community responded in a big way, as over 200 children from 10 community centers and after-school programs came to participate in the day's festivities. Through Kickin' 4 Kidz, children are able to participate in numerous soccer activities throughout the day, in addition to a carnival-like festival of entertaining activities including inflatable obstacle courses, face painting, and music and dancing with Radio Disney. Individuals and businesses in the Richmond community have shown great support for Kickin' 4 Kidz and the children of the city of Richmond by providing over $19,000 in cash and other donations for the one-day event.
In its inaugural year, Kickin' 4 Kidz was named one of the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll's Exemplary Projects for 2009. Visit the Kickin' 4 Kidz website at http://kickin4kidz.com/.
Collaboration is one of the CSL’s core values. That element was the backbone for the newest SEED project: Turn 4 Education Day. CSL faculty member Tim Lampe served as the catalyst connecting leaders from NASCAR, ArenaRacing USA & Henrico County Public Schools in an effort to create an event that fuel high school student interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
Last May, Richmond International Raceway hosted more than 600 Henrico County students for the inaugural Turn 4 Education Day. Students spent an hour rotating through different stations, each focusing on a different component in racing. FOX Sports race analyst and former crew chief Larry McReynolds was among the moderators at the stations, along with representatives from ArenaRacing, Chevy, Ford & Goodyear.
To end the day, students walked over to RIR’s famous track and watched a NASCAR practice session. Like all of our SEED events, every facet of Turn 4 Education Day, was created, coordinated and executed by our CSL students, who ultimately established the first event of its kind in the NASCAR community.
Created in 2010 as a partnership between the Center for Sport Leadership and VCU's Lobs & Lessons, Young Aces Open has become one of the CSL's signature community events. Hosted every spring on VCU's campus, Young Aces Open is a QuickStart Tennis (QST) program held as a culminating event for Richmond Public School children to showcase the skills they have learned throughout the school year. Six children from each of the 25 Richmond City elementary schools are chosen each year and invited to represent their schools in the mixed-doubles, round robin, no elimination tournament format, allowing every child to play continuously and contribute to a team-centered event. Young Aces Open is believed to be the largest QST tournament in the nation, and is an initiative that ultimately helps to enrich the lives of the youth by teaching them sportsmanship, teamwork, and other life skills through the sport of tennis.
In its inaugural year, Young Aces Open was honored as the U.S. Tennis Association Mid-Atlantic's 2010 Community Program of the Year.
Service learning and community involvement are important components of the Center for Sport Leadership at Virginia Commonwealth University curriculum. Community service not only helps people in need, but also contributes to the overall development of successful leaders.
As such, Center for Sport Leadership students participate in a number of required community service events throughout the year, focusing particularly on Lobs & Lessons and the Special Olympics of Virginia.