In September 2022, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the NBA G League affiliate of the Indiana Pacers, announced a partnership with UAW 2209 in an enhanced commitment to education in Northeast Indiana with a new ‘Around the World’ Reading Program.
Mad Ants ‘Around the World’ Reading Program is a free program for students in participating schools, kindergarten through eighth grade. The program is created by the Fort Wayne Mad Ants to continue a long history of encouraging and inspiring reading habits and attachment to those in the community at a young age so that it can carry over into their adult lives. The program will debuted during the 2022-2023 season with over 42,000 students eligible to participate.
“UAW Local 2209 and its members believe that reading is a fun and essential tool that can be used for a lifetime and any contribution to education is well worth it,” said UAW Local 2209 President Holli Murphy.
During this school year, children participating will have the chance to earn prizes and game tickets for Mad Ants games by participating in the program. The reading program is built to accentuate a school or teacher’s chosen curriculum to set five specific reading goals over a six-week period. Once completing their “five shots” around the perimeter of our Mad Ants basketball court, a free ticket to an upcoming Mad Ants basketball game will be earned. That ticket voucher will carry specifics on how to redeem a free ticket to an upcoming Mad Ants games at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne.
To date, school systems committed to the program include Fort Wayne Community Schools, East Allen County Schools, Fairfield Community Schools, Blackford County Schools, South Adams Schools, Southern Wells and Lutheran South Unity School.
“We thank the Mad Ants for their support to FWCS’ students and teachers. We are excited about this partnership. Literacy is our top focus as students need to be able to read to learn. When children develop a love for reading, they realize how books can transport them to different times in history and places around the world. Our mission is to develop productive, responsible citizens, and that starts with reading,” said Fort Wayne Community Schools Superintendent Dr. Mark Daniels.
“East Allen County Schools is delighted to partner with the Mad Ants to provide this amazing reading opportunity for our elementary students,” said East Allen County Schools Superintendent Marilyn Hissong. “Students will be challenged to complete five reading goals over a six-week period. The Mad Ants will provide incentives for the students to complete their “Around the World” reading challenge. This partnership will not only benefit students but also their families as they earn the opportunity to attend a local basketball game. Game on!”
An added bonus: every time a student completes an around the world sheet, that child will have a chance to design and/or color a blank Mad Ants jersey for submission. At the conclusion of the 2022-2023 school year, the Mad Ants will select finalists for the jersey design and open up a vote for fans to pick their favorite design. That design will then be turned into an actual Fort Wayne Mad Ants jersey to be worn during the 2024 Education Day game.
Schools looking to participate in the program can contact Donny Green, Fort Wayne Mad Ants Corporate Ticket Sales Manager, at email@example.com or 260-702-9598.
The ‘Around the World’ Reading Program is a new part of the Ants Educate umbrella program, which includes an Education Day Game and the return of the annual STEAM Fest.