EUGENE, Ore. -- The University of Oregon’s O Heroes program is once again getting involved Read Across America Week and Dr. Suess’ birthday, participating in reading programs at eight schools in the Eugene/Springfield area on Wednesday, March 2. The day-long community service activities will conclude at Adams Elementary School from 6:15-7:45 p.m. with the feature event “Are You Smarter Than a Fourth Grader?” program where student-athletes compete against local 4th graders in a trivia game.
Senior track and field standout Jamesha Youngblood, a five-time all-american, started the program and has been instrumental in carrying it to area grade schools. She created the ‘Are you Smarter’ program as her senior project for her major, Family and Human Services.
“In the FHS (Family & Human Services) program we have to come up with a senior project in order to graduate and it has to be related to our senior site (mine is O Heroes) ... so I thought that ‘Are You Smarter than a 4th grader?’ would be a good way to get student athletes out in the community and also have fun at the same time,” Youngblood said.
Other student-athletes set to participate in the “Are You Smarter” program on Wednesday include: Monique Fuiava (Softball), Ricky Heimuli (Football), Isaac Ava (Football) and Kaylan Howard (Softball).
The program is a fun way to interact with the local youth by bringing in the element of friendly competition to academics. The students are able to better relate to the athletes by being put on the same playing field as them. Questions range from state capitols and math problems to history and geography. The students get to choose their athlete competitors, and in past programs, the score has been close throughout the game.
After the program, the student-athletes field questions and sign autographs.
O Heroes is a certified 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization that was founded in 2008 by the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. The goal of the student-run O Heroes program is to create a single identity for all community service initiatives and to seek involvement from all student-athletes. Service is focused in three areas: health, education and service. Through partnerships and working relationships with local school districts, Committed Partners for Youth, Special Olympics of Lane County, the Emerald Valley Boys & Girls Club, and others, O Heroes has become a standout organization in the Eugene/Springfield area, and has logged over 780 volunteer hours already this school year (since Fall ’10).
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