Atlas, 28, to visit 300 plus schools as part of nationwide tour inspiring young people to support one another, challenging them to attend school events they never have before.
Varsity Brands, the market leader in sport, spirit, and achievement, 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.
Called the “Believe in You” Challenge, it 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?”
“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 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 300 plus 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 BelieveInYou.com.
About Varsity Brands: With a mission to elevate student experiences through sport, spirit, and achievement, Varsity Brands has created a platform that drives change through three unique but interrelated businesses – BSN SPORTS, Varsity Spirit and Herff Jones. Together, these divisions promote personal, school and community pride through customizable products and programs for elementary and middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities, And anyone in between.
About BSN Sports: Founded in 1972, BSN Sports believes that sports have the power to change lives. At the heart of what makes sport happen are the coaches, and mentors who work with kids and young adults to build meaningful lifelong experiences. That’s why the company’s mission is simple. Help its customers save time off the field so they have more time to impact lives on it. BSN SPORTS is the largest supplier of team sports equipment and in the United States with over 2,500 employees (including 950 local sales professionals) across 80 regional offices. Headquartered in Dallas, the company leverages its unparalleled scale, cutting edge technology and relationships with the best brands in the world such as Nike and Under Armour to service over 100,000 customers.
About Varsity Spirit: Founded in 1974, Varsity Spirit has been the driving force behind cheerleading’s dynamic transformation into the high-energy, athletic activity it is today, and the leading global source for all things cheerleading and dance. Focused on safety, entertainment, and traditional school leadership, Varsity Sprit is a leader in uniform innovation and educational camps, clinics and competitions, of which more than 320,000 cheerleaders and dancers attend each year.
About Herff Jones: For nearly 100 years, Herff Jones has been the leading provider of graduation and recognition products and services designed to inspire student achievement. Herff Jones partners with schools to create engaging campus environments and to help young people celebrate and commemorate their school experiences. Products include class rings, graduation regalia, jewelry, and yearbooks, as well as motivation and recognition tools and resources.