LOS ANGELES – After a year where COVID-19 caused unprecedented educational disruption, the Carol Kimmelman Athletic and Academic Campus brought together several leading nonprofits to host a National Day of Learning on May 14 to help students uncover new strengths and passions and stay engaged in their education. Tiger Woods’ TGR Foundation, the United States Tennis Association Foundation, and Winward Academy led panels featuring leaders from big-name brands like the LA Lakers and Gatorade as well as offer hands-on educational workshops to introduce middle and high school students to a range of dynamic academic and career pathways.
“We need bold, innovative approaches to address the education opportunity gaps that have widened during the pandemic, especially for low-income students and students of color,” said philanthropist Doug Kimmelman, who is leading the effort to build a world-class academic and athletic complex in Los Angeles to provide students with the support they need to achieve their potential. “The National Day of Learning is an opportunity to inspire students and connect learning to their lives after high school by illuminating potential college and career options that they may have never known existed.”
The coronavirus pandemic led to this being the most disrupted American school year since World War II. With millions of students nationwide not attending classes, virtual or in-person, many schools are dealing with a crisis of student disengagement and poor attendance. Against this backdrop, the goal of the National Day of Learning is to reinvigorate students’ excitement for learning while demonstrating the value of education to expand future opportunities.
“The power of education for lifelong success cannot be understated, especially given the impacts of this unprecedented year,” said Gordon McNeill, president and CEO of the TGR Foundation. “By combining innovative STEM challenges, inspiring speakers, and college-readiness focused panels, the National Day of Learning will show students that they can pursue what they love through education, and there is something out there for everyone.”
Educators and students in grades 5-12 are invited to participate in the free virtual sessions taking place today between 9:00am and 1:30pm PT. Registration is open to all students, teachers and parents at kimmelmancampus.org/upcoming-events. Sessions will be available for streaming afterwards at the same link. Event highlights include:
● A conversation with four LA Lakers executives moderated by Emmy award-winning CBS news anchor Pat Harvey-Lombard
● A career panel with female leaders in STEM
● A discussion on careers in tennis with Serena Williams’s hitting partner and former hitting coach for Venus Williams and Naomi Osaka
● Advice from a sports dietician to pro athletes
● Hands-on STEM challenges involving creative photography and engineering a parachute
● A Q&A with first-generation college students
“The National Day of Learning goes hand-in-hand with the USTA Foundation’s mission of changing lives through the powerful combination of tennis and education,” said Dan Faber, executive director of the USTA Foundation. “By joining forces with the Kimmelman Family Foundation, TGR Foundation, Winward Academy, and our charitable donors, we will enrich the educational experience for thousands of students, while presenting tennis in an entertaining manner to help recruit and engage new players to our sport.”
The USTA Foundation helps ensure all children have equal access to participate in the sport of tennis by offering free or low-cost tennis programs through their National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL) network.
During the pandemic, the Kimmelman Campus and its partners activated their collective resources to serve L.A. children and families in need. In collaboration with the Los Angeles Unified School District, the team has distributed hundreds of tablets for remote learning, 800 tennis rackets and balls to keep students active, and nearly 10,000 youth clothing items and shoes. To support local educators, the team provided hundreds of teachers with professional development in science, math and physical education; implemented STEM enrichment and tennis skills programs for 5th graders; conducted English and math interventions; and presented a series of virtual events to supplement in-class learning.
“The line-up that we have put together for the National Day of Learning is a natural extension of Winward Academy’s core beliefs, and we hope it will inspire creativity, excitement and interest in higher education as students hear from incredible role models who have excelled in their careers,” shared Dr. Jennifer Winward, founder and CEO of Winward Academy, an award-winning personalized learning platform that is used in the classroom and at home to build teen’s knowledge and confidence.
The National Day of Learning was presented by Zoom and generously supported by the Karsh Family Foundation, Jack & Gloria Kramer Family Foundation, Manitou Fund, and Toyota.