Varsity Brands, the market leader in sport, spirit and achievement, today announced that it has partnered with inspirational athlete Kevin Atlas (Laue) – the first person with one arm to earn a Division I basketball scholarship – on a nationwide tour to educate students and faculty about the incredible power of “believing in yourself,” despite the challenges life may present.
The “Believe in You” Challenge begins with every student attending a school event he or she may not have gone to before, i.e. the football team attending the band concert to reciprocate the support they received all season or the band attending a drama performance, or all three cheering loudly at the next tennis match.
“I owe so much of where I am to one thing … someone believing in me,” said Atlas. “What was my biggest insecurity became my greatest strength, and I owe it all to someone believing in me. This essential lesson is now my mission in life and my message to all young people. Believe in each other because if not you, then who?”
Next up on the tour is Paradise (CA) High School on February 19 where Atlas will be the first guest speaker invited to visit with the students since the tragic fire late last year – the deadliest in California state history – destroyed much of the community.
“Our mission at Varsity Brands is to elevate student experiences and, given our presence at over 20,000 schools across the country, there isn’t a better person to improve the lives of young people than Kevin,” said Adam Blumenfeld, CEO, Varsity Brands. “We believe we have a duty and obligation to help Kevin spread his message, working directly with our customers (coaches, teachers and administrators) across the country. The #BelieveInYouChallenge and Kevin’s tour will come to life through the hard work and coordination of our three divisions, BSN SPORTS, Herff Jones and Varsity Spirit. We are excited about our partnership with him and look forward to the impact the tour can have across the country.”
Atlas added: “Our goal for this program is for every student in America to have someone who believes in them. We are beginning a coast-to-coast movement to bring our Believe In You message to campuses across the country because I’ve been at schools where this exists, and it’s beautiful. Young people today need to feel that support and love. I’m so thankful for this opportunity and I know it will make a profound difference.”
Like so many others, Atlas’ younger years were tinged with confidence and self-assurance challenges. That is until one person, a coach, took a little interest, and a little extra time, to believe in him. Suddenly, with that support, Atlas grew – literally and figuratively – to a height of 6-foot-11 and to a personality who has shared his story of overcoming adversity on six continents and 49 states.
Now Atlas, who has had his life turned into an Oscar-qualifying documentary titled, “Long Shot: The Kevin Laue Story,” has committed to taking his message to schools nationwide. His “Believe in You” video series has already been shown in thousands of classrooms. The Challenge is designed to inspire every coach, administrator and student to take action and support one another.
Along with visiting Paradise High School and the other 300+ schools on the tour, the campaign encourages faculty and students at schools across the country to use hashtag #BelieveInYouChallenge on social media to share their own examples of attending school events they never have before. More information about the series, challenge and campaign can be found at www.BelieveInYou.com