One February 17th I visited the Male Leadership Academy of Charlotte. My boss spoke so highly of this academic institution and was so excited for me to see what it was all about. Anticipating our visit and wanting to be fully prepared, I googled the website the day before. I started reading various bios and mission statements. The first thing that I noticed was that the MLAC held a God-centered education policy. This brought me back because I attended a Christian high school which also valued a God-centered education. Soon after looking at the website I was more than excited to visit this school and observe the students during their Mandarin class.
The atmosphere of MLAC is cozy and inviting. Samantha and I wanted to take a group picture of the boys before going into the classroom to observe. These polite little gentlemen walked out in their spiffy uniforms and were more than happy to smile and say "cheeeeese" for what seemed like 50 frames. They were so patient! The first thing I noticed that there was only a small group of students. This again brought me back to my time in high school because I only graduated with only two other people. I had a feeling that this was a close-knit group of boys which was very heart-warming to me. After group pictures we made our way back to the classrooms. One of the kindergartener's was more than happy to hold the door open for me, chivalry shown even in the smallest of men!
The Mandarin teacher, Ms. Zhao, had made us signs that said "we love Chinese class" and "thank you for supporting us" in the Chinese language. We then had the lovely opportunity to observe a minute of the boys reviewing their Mandarin vocabulary, they were learning about families that day. We hopped on over to the second classroom where the older boys were learning synonyms and antonyms. When we asked if we could take pictures and Mrs. Miller happily agreed and then announced "scholars, pencils down please." Treating these young boys as young scholars, I love it! I felt that this title gave the boys a sense of pride in their learning experience.
In some of my college classes we learn that young children learn and retain a foreign language better than adults because the mind is so impressionable at that age. I'm glad to see that administrations are starting to notice this difference in development and taking advantage of that small window to teach these students something that will help them in the future.
First of all, I have never met anyone that could speak Mandarin. Not many primary schools teach the language, so of course I had to ask why these young gentlemen were learning Mandarin. Mrs. Curry, one of the administrators, told me the reason the boys learn Mandarin is that it gives them a "global edge" for the future because how many African American boys speak Mandarin? In the world of international business I know that Mandarin is a popular language, so this "global edge" she spoke of made perfect sense to me.
Overall, my experience at MLAC was a memorable one. I'm fortunate to have received the opportunity to actually go and visit a place that has received financial support from SCC. It was great to see the smiling faces of these "scholars" and see that the grants we give are extremely beneficial.
Written By: Emily Brown, SCC Intern
We are excited to have Emily join Speedway Children's Charities as our spring semester intern. Emily is a student at UNC Charlotte majoring in Psychology with a minor in Child & Family Development and a minor in Children's Literature & Childhood Studies. Throughout the semester, Emily will be assisting us in our fundraising efforts at the NHRA 4-Wide Nationals, Spring AutoFair, annual Gala and the May racing events.
Get to know Emily:
Q: What hobbies do you like to do when not studying for classes?
A: When I'm not studying, I like to play soccer for the Carolina Rapids Adult League, which is a local soccer club. I also like to spend time with my dog and friends. I'm currently in to Pinterest-inspired crafts and recipes!
Q: What are you most excited about doing during the internship?
A: I'm most excited about working the auctions and seeing all the behind the scenes work fall into place.
Q: What is your favorite family tradition?
A: I come from a huge family, so Christmas is a major event for us. I get to see all my cousins and eat my grandmother's famous Kahlua Chocolate Cake (yum!).
Q: Where is your favorite place you have travelled to?
A: I recently traveled to England this summer. I got to be a true tourist in London which was an amazing experience for me. I also got to stay in a small village in the country side, which was gorgeous. I will definitely be going back soon.
If you were at our 34th Annual Gala then you remember this adorable puppy, and if you have ever wondered where that puppy is today and what she is doing, we have good news for you.
We are happy to update you that the puppy, Emma is doing very well and is in training to become a therapy dog. She was brought home by Kevin and Carie to Ohio and got to meet her sisters, Zoe and Ginger. At 18 months, Emma has been in training since she was brought home. She is an AKC K9 Good Citizen and has had the opportunity to visit Carie's grandmother in a nursing home, where everyone loves seeing her. The next step is for her to become certified for hospital visits. She has a little bit more training to accomplish before she can pass the test, but once she does she will be able to bring joy to patients in the hospital.
As a therapy dog, Emma provides many benefits including, lowering blood pressure, improving cardiovascular health, lifting spirits and lessening depression for the patients and nursing home residents she visits.
A bright future is ahead for Emma and we are thankful to Kevin and Carie for taking such good care of her and being wonderful supporters to Speedway Children's Charities.
The month of May for Speedway Children's Charities and Charlotte Motor Speedway can be described in three words… Hot, Fast and Fun! We successfully executed the plans for the "10 Days of Thunder" with great effort on every level. Everyone involved in Speedway Children's Charities came ready for the biggest weekend in NASCAR's 36 race season.
Speedway Children's Charities was able to raise money for the children of Charlotte by auctioning off prestigious prizes over the "10 Days of Thunder." Many lucky NASCAR fans had the chance to bid on the "Ride of a Lifetime" auction, where they could win the chance to ride with their favorite NASCAR driver during the parade laps before the Coca-Cola 600. Some other prizes included a Meet and Greet with ZZ Top before the pre-race concert, the chance to meet and follow NASCAR on FOX reporter Jamie Little, or the chance to be in Victory Lane with the winners of the Sprint All-Star Race and the Coca-Cola 600.
The support for the charity kept coming in as fans had the chance to bid on prizes during our silent auction before the Sprint All-Star Race. The auction had numerous items which included autographed memorabilia from different NASCAR drivers, and a couple of acoustic guitars signed by Wynonna Judd and Terry Bradshaw.
Our 35th Annual Speedway Children's Charities Gala also had a hand in the success. The charity was able to auction off more autographed memorabilia from different drivers and pro athletes, some signed guitars from ZZ Top and The Band Perry, a signed shotgun from the people of Duck Commander and other prestigious prizes.
At Speedway Children's Charities, we would like to thank everyone involved who helped make these events possible in helping the children of Charlotte. With a strong month of May here at Speedway Children's Charities, we look forward to even more success for the rest of the summer.
-Brandon Read, Summer Intern 2015
The Charlotte Chapter of Speedway Children's Charities is busy getting ready for the spring races and events!
The highlight of the spring season will be our 35th annual Gala. The Gala is being held at the Ritz-Carlton Charlotte and will feature entertainment by the Avett Brothers, dinner, a live auction, and a silent auction. The Gala is the Charlotte chapter's biggest fundraising event.
Speedway Children's Charities will once again be out in full force during the "10 biggest days in racing" leading up to the Coca-Cola 600. If you are coming to Charlotte Motor Speedway, look for Speedway Children's Charities around the track, up in the Speedway Club, or shuttling race fans to the front gates.
These events helped the Charlotte chapter of Speedway Children's Charities award over $400,000 in grants to local non-profit agencies impacting the lives of children in 2014. We value the support from our fans, donors, and volunteers. Our goal for 2015 is to award more grants than ever with your continued help and support. Thank you!
Let's go racing!
Written by: Zachary Trammel
The holidays are upon us and while everyone is making their Christmas lists and checking them twice, we at SCC Charlotte are handing out the best gift of all - Hope.
This year, we distributed more than $400,000 to 54 nonprofits in the Charlotte area. The well deserving organizations who received an early Christmas gift will be able to use their grant to help care for local children. We held the grant distribution in the infield Christmas Village where more than 350 children and adults were able to visit with Santa, do holiday crafts and enjoy refreshments.
Being able to see and visit with the children and families who will be benefiting from the grants reminds us why we get up and come to work every day. When you see a single file line of well dressed, well behaved young boys from the Male Leadership Academy walk through the door, your heart fills with joy just thinking about how your contribution will positively impact the lives of these children.
You could feel the Christmas spirit in the room as families arrived to enjoy the festivities and represent the organizations that mean so much to them. It was a great afternoon being able to provide hope and support to all the 54 wonderful organizations and the children they work with. As we wrap up 2014 and get ready for the New Year, we hope that you will keep these children in mind this holiday season.
We wouldn't be able to give out the grants that we do without the generous help of our sponsors, donors and volunteers. Thank you to everyone who made 2014 our best year yet! Wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
It has been a busy summer at the Charlotte Chapter of Speedway Children's Charities!
The month of May brought us All-Star Race weekend and Coca-Cola 600 Weekend. We could not have made it through race weekends without the help of our awesome volunteers. Their time, commitment, and hard work helped us raise over $20,000 for local charities in our area. That is a huge accomplishment and we truly value each and every one of them!
Our 34th Annual Gala presented by Sonic Automotive was also in May. The Gala included a cocktail reception, silent auction, dinner prepared by Chef Lorena Garcia, and live entertainment from The Avett Brothers. The evening was spectacular and once again we must thank our sponsors, donors, and volunteers.
The month of June consisted of us preparing for our first ever NRA Foundation "One for the Kids" Golf Tournament presented by Autotrader.com. Everyone was able to beat the heat and enjoy a great day on the golf course. It was an extremely successful day for us as we were able to raise over $75,000! Again, without our sponsors and volunteers this would not have been possible!
As we go through July and the rest of the summer our grant applications will be coming in! We are excited to start on the process of giving back to the area. We are looking forward to ending our fiscal year in September on a successful note and start off October with a bang!
Nicole Chabot, Intern
Speedway Children's Charities- Charlotte Chapter
"We make a living by what we do, but we make a life by what we give." - Winston Churchill
The beginning of a new year is a time for reflections and resolutions. If your resolution is to make a difference in 2012, Speedway Children's Charities can give you that opportunity. We are now signing up volunteers for our 2012 events.
As a volunteer for SCC, your impact will be greater than you realize because your work is part of a larger outreach throughout the Charlotte area. In 2011, SCC had the opportunity to support 57 local children's charities. Here is an example of the impact your support will make:
A kindergarten student named Alyssa participated in a Helping the Hurt support group last fall following the sudden and tragic death of her mother. Alyssa’s father had never been involved in her life and this five-year-old child was overwhelmed with feelings of grief and loss.
Every Tuesday, just after lunch, Alyssa approached her teacher and announced, "Miss Amber, it’s time for my grace group." For the first several weeks, Miss Amber attempted to correct her saying, “...it’s your grief group, not your grace group.” However, Alyssa insisted on calling it her “grace group”.
Every Tuesday, for eight weeks, Alyssa was the first to arrive for the group and fully participated in every activity. Instead of anger, resentment and hopelessness, this little girl learned to work through her grief with hope, dignity and grace.
If you are interested, we are signing up volunteers for our 2012 events! Be here to make a difference in your community. Volunteering with SCC gives you the opportunity to improve a life and make a difference. To sign up to volunteer, register at http://charlotte.speedwaycharities.org/volunteer/.
Also check out our Facebook page at http://tinyurl.com/7jxso4z.
The Charlotte Chapter of Speedway Children's Charities wants to thank all of the volunteers and donors for their wonderful support the past few weeks during the All Star and Coca-Cola 600 Race events. Without the hard work of volunteers and the gracious giving of donors, SCC would not be able to provide the much needed help to area children and their families.
Even though the races are complete there is still work to be done. The few weeks after the Coca-Cola 600 mark the beginning of the summer and the start of preparing and organizing events for fall and winter. The summer allows us to analyze our previous events in order to maximize our efforts in the future to better help children in need.
There are countless children in need in our region and in order to better target and focus the efforts of our donors and volunteers we need applicants for our SCC Grant Program. This time of year is the best time for potential grant recipients to apply. The deadline to apply for our 2011 Grant Program is July 15th!
This summer I have been given the wonderful opportunity to broaden my work experience and supplement my coursework under the gracious individuals here at Speedway Children's Charities. But, most importantly, I have been given the chance to help others in need. The efforts of SCC and its volunteers not only help children, but indirectly help those in and around it.
Intern, Charlotte Chapter
Speedway Children's Charities
The 31st annual AutoTrader.com Speedway Children’s Charities Gala presented by Bank of America on Wednesday, May 25, will honor O. Bruton Smith, founder of Speedway Children’s Charities and chairman of the board for Speedway Motorsports, Inc.
Smith founded Speedway Children’s Charities in 1982 as a memoriam and legacy to his son, Bruton Cameron Smith, who passed away at a young age. Through his experience, O. Bruton Smith developed a passion for helping children in need. He established the first chapter at Charlotte Motor Speedway and has since expanded the non-profit organization nationwide to Speedway Motorsports, Inc. tracks in Atlanta, Bristol, New Hampshire, Texas, Las Vegas and Sonoma.
In recognition of his charitable efforts, Smith received the prestigious NASCAR Award of Excellence in 1997. Since its inception, Speedway Children’s Charities has been able to give nearly $10 million to Charlotte, N.C.,-area non-profits and more than $40 million nationwide because of Smith’s leadership and dedication to the organization.
The 31st Annual AutoTrader.com Speedway Children’s Charities Gala presented by Bank of America, will be held for the first time this year at The Ritz Carlton in uptown Charlotte and represents one of the biggest fundraising nights for the area. The event has raised millions of dollars to improve the quality of life for children in the region since its inception.
Mike Joy, the principal race announcer for NASCAR on FOX, will serve as Master of Ceremonies for the program. Carl Edwards, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver and Speedway Children’s Charities national spokesperson, and Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway, will be among the speakers at the Gala.
Proceeds from the evening will benefit the grant program of the Charlotte Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities and will be awarded to local non-profit organizations that help children with medical, social, financial and educational needs.
AutoTrader.com is returning as the title sponsor of this year’s Gala, marking its fourth year of sponsorship. Since its initial contribution, AutoTrader.com has donated more than $2 million to Speedway Children’s Charities.
Gala festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. with a cocktail reception. The reception will include a silent auction, a photo booth by ShutterBooth and live music.
Following the formal portion of the program there will be a live auction with auctioneer Ernest Perry, owner of Perry’s At SouthPark, a jewelry store in Charlotte.
Items up for bid in the live auction include a MontBlanc watch, a trip to the Teen Choice Awards in Los Angeles and a trip to Las Vegas for the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series awards ceremony. The silent auction will feature more than 50 items, including jewelry, dinner parties, race packages and autographed memorabilia.
For more information visit the 31st Annual AutoTrader.com Speedway Children’s Charities Gala presented by Bank of America event page or contact Emily Hudgens at (704) 455-4426.