By Brittany Llorente
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY -- For high school athletes, keeping up their grades and their ability on the field can be a precious balance
Starting in middle school, the athletes begin to learn that being the best player on the field doesn't mean they get to play if their grades are not where they need to be.
Adam Faust, the incoming principal of Glendale Elementary, had a vision: Moonshot Sports. As a part of the collaborative effort with Moonshot Moment, a group of community members and teachers to have literacy to 90 percent of third graders by 2018, he wants to incorporate sports with reading at a younger age.
"If you're in high school, you have to have the grades to play and I thought, 'Why don't we have that conversation earlier?'" Mr. Faust said. "So, this way, when they're in middle school and high school they have heard the whole time that they are going to college and they need to have good grades to play sports."
Mr. Faust said there are a lot of grade school scholars who are involved in sports at a young age including soccer, karate, football and baseball.
With this in mind, Moonshot Sports has reached out to county organizations such as the Indian River Soccer Association, Vero Beach Karate Association and other sports programs.
"I want the coaches of our grade-schoolers to say, 'I want to see your report cards, how are you doing in school?" Mr. Faust said. "We want them to know that sports are as important as grades."
In this effort, Moonshot Sports will be giving bags of books for scholar athletes to coaches.
"We really want coaches to come to us and say, 'Hey, I've got 100 kids starting up for basketball," Mr. Faust said.
The organization would then provide books to the coaches and get the coach's name out in the community to let parents and teachers know what this coach is doing to help students.
"As a teacher, I knew that if a student was involved in athletics and I was having issues with that child, whether it was behavior or grades related, if I reached out to the coach I would see an immediate change," Mr. Faust said. "I wanted to see this as being the norm instead of the exception for coaches to say, 'Maybe I should contact the teacher to see how a student is doing."
As an athlete, Mr. Faust said that sometimes he would listen to his coach over his parents when he was younger.
"I knew that if the coach was saying it, it was important," he said. "I know that as a community, we can all help students achieve."
Currently, Moonshot Sports is looking to partner with the recreation department and has already partnered with the Mardy Fish Foundation, The Indian River Golf Association and others.
"We're trying to get as many people on board to help," Mr. Faust said. "Every time we meet, we look for more ideas to get scholar athletes more productive."
This program effects all of the local sports organizations and in turn, each of the local schools, one student at a time.
To donate books, bring them to Glendale Elementary with a tag for Moonshot Sports.
Coaches or organizations interested in partnering with Moonshot Sports, email Adam Faust at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on Moonshot Moment, visit www.moonshotmoment.org.