NEW ORLEANS - The impact of the 2013 NCAA Women's Final Four on the New Orleans community will be felt for years to come thanks to numerous legacy programs that the NCAA and New Orleans Local Organizing Committee implemented in the Crescent City, with additional help from Tulane serving as the host institution.
Through the NCAA Middle School Madness®, NCAA Pinnacle of Fitness®, POWERADE® NCAA Youth Clinics, Big Easy Bounce Fueled by POWERADE®, NCAA Junior Journalism Workshop, equipment donations through Wilson® Sporting Goods Co. and additional local organizing committee initiatives, over 15,000 New Orleans middle school and elementary age children and their schools were impacted.
Thousands more, young and old, were touched by additional Women's Final Four events including the national semifinal and championship games played at the New Orleans Arena on April 7 and 9, Tourney Town™ Refreshed by Coca-Cola Zero™, the 4Kay® Run Presented by Northwestern Mutual®, open practices and autograph sessions and a $100,000 research grant from the Kay Yow Cancer Fund® to the Tulane Cancer Center. Additional outreach included a visit to the Tulane Medical Center by the University of Louisville and the University of Connecticut cheerleaders and mascots prior to the national championship game on April 8. In addition, local community organizations such as the Second Harvest were also beneficiaries of Women's Final Four programming.
"We are always looking for ways to fully integrate the numerous Women's Final Four events into the local community and in working with the New Orleans Local Organizing Committee we were able to achieve a great deal of success this year," said Anucha Browne, NCAA vice president, women's basketball championships. "Our ultimate goal each year around the Women's Final Four is to leave a lasting legacy in the host community; in New Orleans we accomplished this objective with the assistance from many locally who shared our passion. We wanted to recognize and thank those individuals and groups today."
Community outreach accomplishments around the Women's Final Four included the following:
· NCAA Middle School Madness. This program brought the excitement of the Women's Final Four to New Orleans youth as a stimulating teaching and learning opportunity that was made available in middle school classrooms around the city. Created in 1999, the program provides a curriculum for teachers, along with an essay contest for students and a school-wide mural contest. The NCAA-developed curriculum ties academic disciplines in the primary school subjects into the sport of basketball. Over 2,000 New Orleans middle school students participated in the
Middle School Madness program. All participating students and teachers received a gift. The theme of this year's program was "What is the power of service – making a difference in your community?" Participants were asked to write an essay and work together to create a team mural of their interpretation of this theme. The four essay winners were seventh grader Caroline Bickerton from St. Dominic School; seventh grader David Moses, Jr. from Benjamin Franklin Elementary and Mathematics School; seventh grader Thaddeus Wilson from St. Dominic School and sixth-grader Tayla Williams from Benjamin Franklin Elementary and Mathematics School. All received a laptop computer provided by the NCAA. Winners of the mural contest were the Luscher Charter School, which will receive two desktop computers. In addition, each student and school that participated also received additional gifts, including a donation for art supplies for each participating school in the mural contest. The murals and essays were displayed around New Orleans during the 2013 Women's Final Four weekend.
· NCAA Pinnacle of Fitness. This program reached over 1,500 New Orleans students who participated in the program that educated and challenged students to strive for a higher level of fitness and to establish healthy lifestyle habits over the course of a 10-week program. Schools that had 80 percent participation in the program received an equipment voucher provided by the NCAA and Wilson Sporting Goods Co. for use in their physical education program, with each participating student receiving the
Presidential Lifestyle Award signed by the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. Wilson Sporting Goods Co. provided 22 ball racks and 550 basketballs that were later distributed to the participating schools. The Pinnacle of Fitness winners were the Benjamin Franklin Elementary Mathematics and Science School, Lusher Charter School, McDonogh #32 Literacy Charter School and Lagniappe Academies.
· POWERADE NCAA Youth Clinics. Approximately 600 New Orleans youth participated in the youth clinics conducted at Tourney Town, Isidore Newman School and Joe Brown Memorial Park. Boys and girls had the opportunity to learn and enhance their sports, conditioning and life skills with women's basketball coaches and student-athletes, as well as collegiate administrators and basketball experts from various parts of the country. Following the youth clinics, basketballs, ball racks, coolers and ice chests and other miscellaneous items were donated to the hosting locations and other outreach organizations.
· Big Easy Bounce Fueled by POWERADE. Held on April 6, the Big Easy Bounce featured approximately 2,000 New Orleans youth, ages 18 and under, who dribbled from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome Plaza to the entrance of Tourney Town adjacent to New Orleans Arena. All participants received a t-shirt from the NCAA and a basketball from Wilson Sporting Goods Co. Additional items from the Bounce were then donated to area community centers.
· NCAA Junior Journalism Workshop. A group of 15 elementary school girls from various New Orleans and local area schools participated in the workshop on April 6 at the New Orleans Arena. The students observed Women's Final Four team practices, participated in news conferences and were provided open locker room access for interviews. Instructed in the latest media and social media coverage techniques, the young women then wrote short posts that were later used on NCAA social media platforms during the Women's Final Four. Each participant received a Women's Final Four backpack which included a basketball and other mementos.
· 4Kay Run and Kay Yow Cancer Fund Research Grant. Approximately 900 runners and walkers joined in the battle against women's cancers by taking part in the 2013 4Kay Run on April 6 that ran through the streets of downtown New Orleans. Approximately $20,000 was raised for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund from this year's event. Conducted each year in the host city of the Women's Final Four, the 4Kay Run has now helped to raise over $240,000 since its inception in 2008 and is held in honor of the late North Carolina State University head women's basketball coach, Kay Yow. Also, in February 2013, the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, in partnership with the Women's Basketball Coaches Association and The V Foundation for Cancer Research, awarded a $100,000 research grant to the Tulane University Cancer Center to further research efforts directed to
continue research on the impact of mobile elements on genetic instability in lung cancer.
· Second Harvest Food Bank. The NCAA coordinated efforts with the Second Harvest Food Bank in New Orleans to collect unused food items after Women's Final Four events to repurpose and distribute to agencies and organizations that address the problem of hunger in Southeast Louisiana. Numerous event partners, including Centerplate from New Orleans Arena, fan gathering restaurants and others donated. Second Harvest has expressed that they will use the model developed during the Women's Final Four going forward in the community and will try to establish similar relationships with the Mardi Gras events, Jazz Fest vendors, and gaining unused food items following Saints and Pelicans games and other major sporting events.
"Events like the NCAA Women's Final Four help to continue to spread the message of New Orleans as a host destination. We are proud of the event that was hosted and appreciative that 30,000 fans traveled to New Orleans to experience the event and the city," said Kim Boyle, chairwoman of the New Orleans Local Organizing Committee. "It was important to the NCAA and to us that when an event of the magnitude of the Women's Final Four came to town that our community felt the positive effects not only when the games were being played, but for many years following."
About the NCAA and Division I Women's Basketball
The NCAA is a membership-led nonprofit association of colleges and universities committed to supporting academic and athletic opportunities for more than 400,000 student-athletes at more than 1,000 member colleges and universities. Each year, more than 54,000 student-athletes compete in NCAA championships in Divisions I, II and III sports. Visit www.NCAA.org and www.NCAA.com for more details about the Association, its goals and members and corporate partnerships that help support programs for student-athletes.
The NCAA is proud to have the following elite companies as official Corporate Champions – AT&T, Capital One and Coca-Cola – and the following elite companies as official Corporate Partners – Allstate, Buffalo Wild Wings, Buick, Enterprise, Infiniti, LG, Lowe's, Nabisco, Northwestern Mutual, Reese's (Hershey's), Unilever and UPS.
NCAA women's basketball is characterized by strong fundamentals, high quality of play, sportsmanship, role model student-athletes and family oriented entertainment. The latest NCAA Graduation Success Rate figures show 84 percent of NCAA Division I women's basketball players graduate. In terms of the NCAA Academic Progress Rate, which measures term-by-term academic success, the overall score is 970, well above the NCAA benchmark of 930.
For the latest news in regard to the Women's Final Four, visit www.ncaa.com/womensfinalfour.
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