INSPIRED IMPACT is an ongoing blog series that gives voice to social entrepreneurs and leaders of mission-driven organizations who are making an impact in their communities, industries, and around the world.

 



 

Nick MonziNick Monzi is the CEO & Co-Founder of Learn Fresh. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn and learn more at learnfresh.org.

 

WHAT DO YOU DO?
At Learn Fresh, our mission is to make learning fun for all students. We improve engagement and achievement through innovative learning experiences, leveraging students’ passion points to power their STEM education. Our programs to date have centered on the connection between sports and academics. More than 100,000 students will have participated in programs like NBA Math Hoops and Broncos First & 10 after the 2018-19 school year.

 

WHY DO YOU DO IT?
Our team is full of talented educators and athletes who have lived the connection between sports and learning. For most of us, sports was the lens through which we saw the world as kids. Now we have the privilege of empowering young learners with the same (and even better) opportunity through our work!

 

WHAT IMPACT ARE YOU MAKING?
We’re changing the game for students, educators, and our pro team partners! Our annual research study, conducted by the American Institutes for Research, has demonstrated consistent academic gains for students in grades 4-7. Educators also see the tangible value for their students, with 92% reporting that the program makes math more accessible and relevant, and 84% reporting that the experience improved students’ capacity to work in teams.

Our teachers also love the program too. We love the quote below, as an example:

“I was so excited to receive my first shipment of NBA Math Hoops game. I felt like I was a kid opening up a birthday present that I been wanting for months. Sports helped spark my interest in math and reading as a child, so its only fitting that I utilize NBA Math Hoops to teach the next generation.”

And with more than 20 professional team partners across the NBA, NFL and MLB, we’re motivated to continuously improve the depth with which they serve their communities.

 

WHAT (OR WHO) INSPIRES YOU TO MAKE THIS IMPACT?
Stories like this make all the difference for us:

“One of my female ELL students came into third grade struggling with addition concepts and automaticity. However, once she engaged in NBA Math Hoops, she began practicing her addition, subtraction and multiplication facts every chance she got. By the end of our season, she was the top multiplication student in class and her confidence had grown tremendously.”

“I have the best video of one of my students yelling and excited at the local NBA Math Hoops Championship. When I looked closely, I realized she was cheering for the other team. It was great to see her excited about them doing well, and she had never even met them or played with them before. What a great lesson on sportsmanship.”

 

WHAT’S YOUR BIG DREAM FOR THE ORGANIZATION AND THE IMPACT YOU WANT TO MAKE?
It sounds corny and cliche, but we really want to change the world! We believe that this method of learning and engaging is as universal as sports are, and hope to engage with pro sports teams across all major US leagues and in leagues abroad to reach as many students as possible.

Academically, our focus will also be on fundamental learning — delivering the core skills that every student needs, regardless of whether they want to become an astronaut, artist, or politician.

 

WHAT RESOURCES DO YOU NEED TO MAKE THOSE DREAMS COME TRUE?
It’s no surprise, as a younger nonprofit, that financial resources are our #1 barrier to growth. As of the 2018-19 school year, we’ll have reached more than 100,000 students with a full-time staff of four! With a few more people and a bit more capacity, we are primed to take a major step forward as an organization.

 

WHAT IS (OR HAS BEEN) YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE?
Ensuring that we are always maximizing our time, energy, and focus is a critical and ongoing challenge. Not in a bad way at all, but something that demands constant attention. As a growing, ambitious organization, it’s a critical part of how we execute as efficiently as possible.

 

WHAT WORDS OF ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER LEADERS LOOKING TO MAKE AN IMPACT?
Think big, act small, and always focus on the core of your mission.

 

HOW CAN OTHERS SUPPORT YOU OR YOUR CAUSE?
Financial support is our top need at the moment. We love engaging volunteers too, but we have a super efficient model. Dollars allow us to increase our capacity, reach more deserving students and educators, and maximize the global potential of the work.

 


Orapin Marketing + Public Relations is an award-winning communications agency that generates awareness, engagement, and, ultimately, support for mission-driven organizations. We amplify their voice and reach so they can increase their impact. If you would like to be featured on INSPIRED IMPACT, reach out to hello@orapinmarketing.com.