Pacers Cares Education Service and Health

Read to Achieve

The NBA’s Read to Achieve campaign is a year-round national program designed to help young people develop a life-long love for reading and on-line literacy as well as encourage adults to read and talk regularly with children. Reaching an estimated 50 million children a year, Read to Achieve is the most extensive educational outreach initiative in the history of professional sports.

Read to Achieve serves as the NBA/WNBA’s and its’ team’s primary community activity and harnesses all of professional basketball’s best assets to impact one of the most pressing issue our society faces. The program promotes the value of reading and online literacy while encouraging families and adults to read regularly with young children.

The goals of this initiative is to build a lifelong love of reading in young people by providing greater access to books and technology; encourage and engage members of the NBA/WNBA family including current & former players, league and team personnel, coaches, wives and parents to participate in the program as a Volunteer Reading Coach and to use all of the NBA/WNBA assets to create ongoing public awareness of this initiative through courtside signage, PSA’s, NBA.com and NBA.com TV presence and events around the league.

At the local level, the Indiana Pacers Read to Achieve Program, presented by Chase and in partnership with the city of Indianapolis’ Knozone Program, is composed of Weekly Reading Time-Outs, All-Star Reading Team, Read to Achieve Tip Off, Read to Achieve Night, Free Book Giveaways, Pregame Book Exchange and Call-A-Pacer.

Weekly Reading Time-Outs

A component of the Read to Achieve Program presented by Chase and in partnership with the city of Indianapolis’ Knozone Program, the Indiana Pacers present weekly reading timeouts throughout the season (November – April).

Special guest readers include members of the Indiana Pacers, Boomer, Bowser, the Indiana Pacemates and members of the Pacers All-Star reading “team”.

Guest readers read students selected children’s stories from large oversized books. Students participating in the reading timeouts receive a Pacers Reading Kit, complete with a customized Pacers book, Pacers Hoop City, and other reading tools. Children also have the opportunity to win Pacers prizes including autographed items!

Each visit is approximately one hour in length with class sizes averaging 120 first through third grade students. This year’s reading timeouts take place at the following schools:

Read to Achieve All-Star Reading Team

A component of the Read to Achieve Program presented by Chase and in partnership with the city of Indianapolis’ Knozone Program, the Indiana Pacers have developed an All-Star Reading Team featuring players, coaches, local dignitaries and celebrities.

Members of the All-Star Reading Team volunteer their time and knowledge to children throughout the city in various monthly events and activities that promote and bring public awareness to the value of reading. This includes press conferences, radio voice-overs, local/national print and television PSA’s, in-arena videos, etc.

Read to Achieve Tip Off

A component of the Read to Achieve Program presented by Chase and in partnership with the city of Indianapolis’ Knozone Program, the Indiana Pacers hosted the Read to Achieve Tip-off at the Indianapolis Zoo on Friday, Oct. 31 from 11:00 – 1:30 pm.

Members of the Indiana Pacers All-Star Reading Team and Indiana Pacemates, along with mascots Boomer and Bowser, shared stories with students from, (Elder W. Diggs) IPS#42, (Merle Sidener Gifted Academy) #359 and (Wendell Phillips) #63. Students participated in rotating reading stations in the Zoo’s Dolphin Gallery, Education Suites and Hulman Riverhouse. Students also had the opportunity to interact with select zoo animals and talk to the animal handlers about each animal.

Each child in attendance received a Pacers Reading Kit, a Read to Achieve t-shirt, Boomer’s Halloween Candy and tickets to the Pacers’ Read to Achieve Day game vs. the Chicago Bulls on Feb. 22.

Read to Achieve Day

A component of the Read to Achieve Program presented by Chase and in partnership with the city of Indianapolis’ Knozone Program, the Indiana Pacers hosted Read to Achieve Day at the Sunday, Feb. 22 game vs. the Chicago Bulls.

A celebration of reading, Read to Achieve Day included the following activities & events:

  • Free Book Giveaway
  • Pregame Reading Time-Out in
    Pepsi Square
    featuring members of the Pacers All-Star Reading Team and Indiana Pacemates.
  • Children 12 & under received a Read to Achieve Poster featuring Mike Dunleavy, Stephen Graham, Boomer and an Indiana Pacemate.
  • In-game giveaways including Pacers Backpacks, reading kits and autographed children’s books.
  • Pacers players, coaches, training staff, mascots and Pacemates participated by sporting their Read to Achieve t-shirts throughout the game.
  • Children from area elementary schools & children’s organizations were provided free tickets to attend that day's game and celebrate Read to Achieve!

  • Call A Pacer

    A component of the Read to Achieve Program presented by Chase and in partnership with the city of Indianapolis’ Knozone Program, the Indiana Pacers team up with the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library and Stanley Security Solutions to present Call-A-Pacer. This annual program allows callers to listen to featured Pacers' players, coaches and Pacemates read a segment of a children’s story. Fans of all ages can call (317) 275-4444, to hear members of the Pacers read pre-selected children's stories. Phone lines are open 24 hours, and may be accessed by up to four listeners at a time. Fans can also log on to Pacers.com to hear these same stories, as well as stories read by members of the All-Star Reading Team. Call-A-Pacer was created to encourage school-age children to read and visit their neighborhood library. All stories run for one week from April to July.

    Pacers Academy Middle School and High School

    As part of the Pacers Education & Literacy Initiative, the Pacers provide corporate partnership to the PacersAcademyMiddle School and High Schools.

    Opening in 2001, the mission of PacersAcademy is to champion the connection of needed community resources with schools to help young people successfully learn, stay in school and prepare for life.

    PacersAcademy is a secondary alternative education concept for grades 7-8 and 11-12 designed to teach educational and life skills in a focused environment. This is achieved by offering smaller classes, school hours that better meet the needs of teens, and a service-learning component for middle school students and a jobs component for high school students.

    This smaller school targets attendance, academic achievement and improved behavior. Emphasis is placed on building self-esteem to help students prepare for the challenges they will meet in the future. The school policies foster positive expectations and a “PacersAcademy” culture that teaches students to respect each other, the teachers and themselves.

    The Indiana Pacers are an integral part of the PacersAcademyMiddle School and High School providing student participation in community activities, player visits and more.

    The PacersAcademy originally opened in August, 2001 as a middle-school and high-school.

    In 2006-07, students were separated, creating a PacersAcademyMiddle School (part of the Indianapolis Public School System) at Union Station and a PacersAcademyHigh School (part of the Pike Township School System) located at Lafayette Square Mall.>

    Pacers Learning Centers

    As part of the Pacers Education & Literacy Initiative, the Pacers sponsor six Pacers Learning Centers.

    The Pacers Learning Centers provides books and technological resources to select Indianapolis Public Schools to implement the National Basketball Association’s national reading initiative, Read to Achieve, at the local level.

    The Pacers Learning Centers are utilized for reading groups, tutoring, homework clubs, and various character-building activities. In addition computer workstations are available to the teachers and students for research assignments.

    The first PacersLearningCenter was opened in May, 2003 at Francis Scott Key Elementary (IPS #103). Additional learning centers were opened at Key Learning Community North, IPS #44, IPS #31, IPS #82, and IPS #98.

    IPS #103 link here

    IPS #44 link here

    IPS #31 link here

    IPS #82 link here

    IPS #98 link here

    Key Learning Community North

    100 Black Men Scholastic Basketball Awards Ceremony

    As part of the Pacers Education & Literacy Initiative, the Pacers host the 100 Black Men Scholastic Basketball Program Awards Ceremony. The 100 Black Men Scholastic Basketball Program was designed to raise the level of scholastic achievement in the classroom, at home and on and off the basketball court. Each week, Indianapolis Public School students are evaluated based on effort, conduct and attendance. By achieving good scores in these areas, the students earn points which give them a chance to play basketball with the student’s basketball team and compete with other schools. The Pacers partner with the Indianapolis chapter of 100 Black Men to sponsor this program. Upon conclusion of the program, the Pacers host an awards ceremony for the top 12 students at participating schools. In 2009, the Pacers hosted the Awards Ceremony in the Clarian Health Entry Pavilion of Conseco Fieldhouse for students representing IPS #14, IPS #34, IPS #51, IPS #54, IPS #55, IPS #69, IPS #81, IPS #93, IPS #102, Deer Run Elementary & Eastbrook Elementary. Indiana Pacers player Maceo Baston and Assistant Coach Lester Conner, along with Indiana Pacers mascot Boomer and Indiana Fever mascot Freddy Fever were on hand to congratulate the students and distribute medals and certificates to the top “point-earners” from these schools. In addition, Coach Conner delivered a motivational speech to over 300 students who were recognized for their hard work and dedication, both on and off the court.

    Abrams Academic Achievement Award

    As part of the Pacers Education & Literacy Initiative, the Indiana Pacers, in partnership with Pacers team physician Dr. John Abrams sponsor the Abrams Academic Achievement Award. The Abrams Academic Achievement Award was established to recognize students at the Pacers Academy for their hard work and efforts in academic pursuits. In 2006-07 the award expanded to include students at each Pacers Learning Center. Each month a student is recognized during an on-court ceremony at an Indiana Pacers game, receiving two Krieg-DeVault Club Level tickets to the game, serves as the honorary ball kid at that night’s game, along with a $200 Simon Mall Gift Certificate, a Certificate of Achievement and a Pacers goodie bag. In addition, recipients have their name engraved on a plaque, which is displayed at their school.

    Start Your Day With The Pacers

    As part of the Indiana Pacers Education & Literacy Initiative, the Pacers host “Start Your Day with the Pacers” for students at select elementary schools. During the 2008-09 season, students from IPS #43, Southwestern Elementary, Irvington Community School and Crestview Elementary School received backpacks from Pacers player Josh McRoberts, former Pacers player Darnell Hillman, Boomer, Bowser and members of the Indiana Pacemates. The goal of the event is to encourage higher attendance rates and to supply students with the tools needed to achieve in school.

    Partnership for Young Readers/Making the Grade

    As part of the Indiana Pacers Education & Literacy Initiative, the Indiana Pacers, in partnership with The Indianapolis Star’s Newspaper in Education Program, have teamed up to present Making the Grade. Making the Grade is a 12-week education program that stresses good writing skills and character education and development. Each week the Making the Grade feature includes articles and information on Pacers players and coaches. In addition, students are invited to respond to character-building questions posed by Boomer and Bowser. Of those responses, five essays are selected every week to receive four tickets to an Indiana Pacers game. In addition, one top essay is chosen to be published in the following week’s Indianapolis Star. For more information on Partnership for Young Readers, email nie@indystar.com.