BUFFALO, NY — M&T Bank and the University at Buffalo Athletics Department teamed up to provide about 50 fourth- and fifth-grade students from Westminster Community Charter School and Highgate Heights Elementary School, two schools supported by M&T's Buffalo Promise Neighborhood initiative, with a unique sports-themed learning experience inside UB's Alumni Arena late last week.
M&T and UB created Basketball 101 in 2015 as a way to encourage the elementary school students to work hard, commit to their academics and practice healthy habits. Featuring student-athletes and coaches from the UB Athletics Department, the program incorporates the basics of basketball, teamwork, leadership and healthy diet and nutrition.
"Featuring student-athletes and coaches from the UB Athletics Department, we designed the program to provide positive role models to encourage the elementary school students to work hard, commit to their academics and practice healthy habits, said Sean Quinn, Regional Retail Manager at M&T Bank. "We're always looking for ways to leverage our partnership with organizations like UB to give back to our community."
The program is used as an incentive to promote perfect attendance within the two schools. The classrooms with the best attendance during a four-week period between March and April were awarded with the prize of a trip to UB's Alumni Arena for the exclusive basketball clinic.
UB Men's Basketball Head Coach Jim Whitesell welcomed the students, and several student-athletes on the men's and women's basketball teams participated in the drills and enrichment sessions. Three distinct stations were set up at Basketball 101 for groups of students to travel through and interact with staff, coaches and student-athletes.
"The Fifth Annual 'Basketball 101' is a partnership with M&T Bank and Buffalo Promise Neighborhood that continues to exhibit our sincere commitment to be engaged with the community," said UB Director of Athletics Mark Alnutt. "This platform provides elementary kids the ability to step foot on our campus that might not have had this opportunity elsewhere. In addition, our coaches and student-athletes give back by teaching basketball skills, but more importantly life lessons, which I'm hopeful will touch individuals and have them realize what the college experience at UB is all about."
The stations included:
- Fundamental Skill Work (w/ coaches and student-athletes)
- Exercise / Stretches (w/ sports performance and sports medicine staff)
- Discussion around Academics / Leadership (w/ student-athletes and academic advisors).
Basketball 101 ran from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Friday, May 10, 2019. Lunch was served to all participants prior to the children returning back to school.
About M&T Bank
M&T Bank Corporation is a financial holding company headquartered in Buffalo, New York. M&T's principal banking subsidiary, M&T Bank, operates banking offices in New York, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. Trust-related services are provided by M&T's Wilmington Trust-affiliated companies and by M&T Bank.
About UB Athletics
The University at Buffalo, The State University of New York is the largest university in the state system of New York. This flagship institution has nearly 32,000 students, more than 220,000 alumni worldwide and is an AAU member. Ranked 48th among all public universities in the United States, UB professional schools such as Law, Medicine, Dentistry, Business and Engineering are ranked in the top 100. With an aggressive plan in UB 2020, the entire university, including the Department of Athletics has immeasurable potential.