Kids at ICEF Middle School
Sep 28, 2021 • By

Box Tops and Yoplait support schools in need

Box Tops for Education and Yoplait are on a mission to elevate kids to their fullest potential this school year and beyond. 

This back-to-school season, they are donating a total of $20,000 in Box Tops to two Los Angeles, California, area schools. The Inner-City Education Foundation (ICEF) Middle School in Inglewood and Jefferson Elementary School in Lennox will each receive $10,000. 

Support for STOKED  

At ICEF, many of the students come from severely economically challenged backgrounds.  

The school’s athletic director, Lisa Finegan, and physical education (PE) teacher, Benito “Benny” Mendez, have worked tirelessly to bring the students new opportunities. 

Recently, Finegan and Mendez launched a PE program called STOKED, which uses sports to promote leadership. Through the program, students learn new sports like skateboarding, surfing, and snowboarding, while getting outside their comfort zone. 

student in STOKED program with skateboard

“What’s so great about this is so many of these kids live close to the beach, but never had the opportunity to learn to swim. This program goes back to the very basics of teaching swimming to kids who live in this community,” says Kristina Lynch, assistant marketing manager, Box Tops for Education. 

Mendez’s own story of becoming a teacher was one of the reasons Box Tops and Yoplait were inspired to give back.  

As a child, he was encouraged by his PE teacher to try cross country running, but his family couldn’t afford the fees and equipment. So, the teacher said he would cover the costs. That teacher became a mentor to him, and they still keep in touch today. Now Mendez is the teacher encouraging his students to try new things. 

ICEF teacher and student

Together, Yoplait and Box Tops are donating to ICEF Middle School to enhance the STOKED program and provide gym equipment and supplies that their current funding could not provide. 

Box Tops and Yoplait donation to ICEF

“COVID-19 has affected how gym class functions and for safety reasons, everyone needs their own water bottles,” says Lynch. “They can no longer use a shared drinking fountain, so one of the things that we’re fulfilling is getting sports water bottles to each of the students.” 

See the reaction from Finegan and Mendez to the donation. 

Surprising a PE Teacher at ICEF View Park Middle School

Yoplait and Box Tops recently teamed up to surprise a Los Angeles Area School.

A commitment to teaching and raising “good little humans” 

Jefferson Elementary is using the $10,000 donation to support its Playworks program, which brings in additional staff to help students learn how to play and develop skills to resolve issues independently on the playground.  The administration is confident that this program has the potential to prevent problems before they start while teaching students life-long communication skills.  

With Yoplait’s commitment to providing experiences for kids and families to connect through play, they felt like this was the perfect opportunity to team up with Box Tops. 

“Yoplait exists to help families raise kids that are happy, healthy and strong, one serving of good at time,” says Rachel Letsche, assistant manager, Brand Experience, Yoplait. “We know that Box Tops believes that a child’s education is the foundation to achieving their fullest potential, so we thought that by coming together, we could help schools and parents both teach and raise ‘good little humans’.” 

Supporting Schools in Need 

The Yoplait partnership is the first co-branded effort that Box Tops has underway in a series of stories highlighting Schools in Need. 

Through a new Schools in Need [1] search feature in its mobile app, Box Tops is empowering shoppers in every community to support students who need it the most. 

To learn more and support a school in need near you, download the Box Tops app. 

“Kids are the future and if we can support them in these fundamental years, there’s a difference we can make in society and the world,” says Letsche. 

[1] Box Tops defines a School in Need as a Title I school where more than 40% of its student population is on the Free and Reduced Lunch Program. Data is derived from the U.S. Department of Education’s statistical branch, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) on an annual basis 

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