APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY:
As part of Samsung's commitment as a United States Olympic Committee partner (USOC), Samsung identified an Olympic-focused, nonprofit-operated program that aligned with Samsung's corporate giving platform, Hope for Children (HFC). This program - Ready, Set, Gold! - matched their criteria because it focused on children's health and aligned with the Life and Learning pillars of the HFC program. After working with the Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games to develop a relationship with RSG!, Samsung agreed to assist funding RSG!'s program for the 2011-2012 school year. RSG! had developed this program previously and implemented it from 2006 until 2009, when it ran out of funding.
Samsung saw the value in the program and committed to providing $285,000 for the 2011-2012 school year. This money will underwrite the operation costs of the RSG! Program, which includes funding programmatic operations, retaining a spokesperson, and covering honorariums for expenses incurred by Olympians.
The LAUSD and SCCOG will conduct program evaluations at the end of the 2011-2012 school year and Samsung will base its decision to continue funding the program on these studies and FitnessGram results.
IMPLEMENTATION, TIMELINE AND DELIVERABLES:
Between July and November of 2011, Samsung provided $285,000 in funding to RSG! for programmatic underwriting, new website development, increased social media presence, and the year's spokesperson.
In addition to providing financial resources, Samsung lends its professional expertise on an as-needed basis. For instance, utilizing in-house expertise, Samsung negotiated this year's spokesperson contract on behalf of RSG!. Samsung also offers marketing and media expertise, and has put forth considerable effort to plan special events for participants of RSG!, as well as to garner media exposure and support for the program.
In February 2012, Samsung planned a RSG! appreciation day at the 2012 UCI Para-Cycling Track World Championships' qualifiers in Los Angeles. Fifty students and teachers from RSG! schools were invited to attend the event as guests of Samsung and were treated to a complete VIP experience, which included meet and greets with Olympic athletes.
RSG! identified schools for the 2011-2012 school year throughout LAUSD that are suitable candidates for participation in RSG!. They included 50 schools in the program and matched them with up to two Olympians or Paralympians who will visit each school's students in grades five, seven, and nine. The number of athletes assigned to each school depends on the size of the school and the ability of the school to allocate time and resources to the program.
These athletes commit to visiting their assigned school five times throughout the year, which amounts to ten visits per school for schools with two athletes. This format allows athletes to develop camaraderie with the students and encourages students to feel that the athletes are truly committed to taking this journey with them.
The athletes work directly with a designated RSG! planning partner within each school to arrange visits and activities that will best suit the school and its students. The program, which emphasizes a hands-on approach in order to have the most impact on students, is largely driven by this relationship. Before visiting the school, the athlete and his or her partner will plan out engagements with the students for the year. These may include motivational speeches about the value of exercise and achievement, activities and exercise classes, or other activities.
The obesity rates in the LAUSD are consistently higher than the obesity rates of other districts in the county - 26.1 percent in LAUSD compared to 23 percent in the rest of the county. During the 2008 - 2009 school year, 75 percent of LAUSD students failed to pass all six tests on the state Fitnessgram exam, which is administered to encourage students to start life-long habits of regular physical activity (Physical Education Is a Right: The Los Angeles Unified School District Case Study),.
Ready, Set, Gold! prepares students within the LAUSD for the California Fitnessgram exam. The test is given to students in grades five, seven, and nine in an effort to defend against and prevent the onset of certain diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease, with physical activity. Students who score within the 'healthy fitness zone' of the Fitnessgram test are less likely to develop these diseases later in life. Participating RSG! Olympians team with schools to encourage students to be more active by motivating them to engage in physical activity with the Olympians' own personal experiences.