LMU Cares Continues Outreach With Project Knapsack

Drew Viney visited with students at Daniel Freeman Elementary.

May 31, 2011

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Despite the 2010-11 academic year coming to a close, LMU men's basketball continued its community service in the month of May. The Lions' community service initiative, LMU Cares, along with partner program Project Knapsack, finished their yearlong pen pal initiative by hosting a publishing party for fourth grade students at Daniel Freeman Elementary in Inglewood. Calif.

The partnership is in its third year and continues to be successful in decreasing the current barriers that affect student learning within the local community and in Africa.

It all started in the fall of 2010 with Daniel Freeman students writing pen pal letters to students at the Molalatladi Primary School in Soweto, South Africa. LMU Cares has been committed to supporting the initiative by volunteering, mentoring, fundraising and helping to increase awareness about the program and ways in which other students can get involved. The program is designed to help students in the areas of reading, spelling, vocabulary, penmanship, English Language Conventions, geography, current events and writing.

Max Good at Daniel Freeman Elementary

While visiting the classroom, members from the men's basketball team worked with the students in small groups on the proper mechanics of composing a thoughtful and grammatically correct letter.

"We are in an era in which texting, twitter and facebook are mainstream in the way of communication amongst young people", says Porcha Dodson, Founder of Project Knapsack. "Our program teaches students how to communicate their thoughts through traditional letter writing, brainstorming, editing and publishing".

In addition, Associate Head Coach Myke Scholl spoke to the students about the current education crisis amongst schools throughout Africa.

Last year, LMU Cares raised enough money to help Molalatladi students and teachers purchase additional books for their library and to expand the computer lab.

Moving forward, LMU Cares will continue its partnership with Project Knapsack in efforts to build even stronger ties with students in the local community. The organization will continue to expand the program to include more schools in the United States and in Africa.

"Through our partnership with The Ryan Nece Foundation, we are pleased to announce our current expansion project with students from the American International School of Lusaka and Carrollwood Day students in Florida," said Dodson. "It is so wonderful to see student and professional athletes using their talents to help others. We value the relationship that we have with our partners who work hard to keep hope alive each day."





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