Originally published Nov. 24, 2020 by the Independent Tribune.

By Victoria Young

Johnson C. Smith University worked with Academy Sports + Outdoors of Concord to provide a Charlotte elementary school with $1,000 worth of physical education equipment to promote health, wellness and social distancing.

Academy Sports partnered with the university to provide schools in the community with needed equipment as part of a holiday give-back.

Dr. Regina Boyd, the elementary school's principal, is a graduate of Johnson C. Smith University. She said she is glad the university wanted to give back to the community.

"I am thankful for the opportunity, as an alum, it is great to be a part of the university giving back," the principal said.

Boyd said the elementary school is located less than two miles away from the HBCU.

Boyd mentioned that Kim Barnett, the elementary school's physical education teacher, was able to select the donated equipment. Barnett chose several yoga mats, soccer balls and other equipment that students could use in isolation.

"We let her pick them out herself because she would know what would be best for our scholars," Boyd said. "I am most excited about the yoga mats that she selected to practice mindfulness with our scholars. She also leads an initiative about brain-based movement and learning in the school. I noticed she picked up tools that will help out scholars with balancing. But I think the top one thing, considering the pandemic, are those yoga mats to really help our scholars settle in for a day of learning.

Johnson C. Smith University had been looking at two schools in the Charlotte area for the donation but ultimately settled on University Park Creative Arts School.

Steve Joyner, athletic director and head men's basketball coach for the university, said the university needed the donation to further their initiative for youth.

"There was a need, so when this opportunity came about, we thought about this particular school and how it would benefit them greatly in terms of what they are trying to do for the youth."

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