Financial support for kid-focused organizations available through Community Connections Program

Shawn Nowlin

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Last year, a travel baseball team from West Virginia was one of the recipients to earn a $1,000 sponsorship through the U.S. Cellular Community Connections Program. All Salem-based athletic and academic kid-focused organizations are eligible for the sponsorship this year.

Research shows that approximately 56 percent of American children participate in youth sports. While playing sports can be fun, it can also be expensive. The costs for a child to take part in an organized sport can easily set a parent back $500 per month.

To offer financial support for Salem athletic and academic kid-focused organizations, the U.S. Cellular Community Connections Program is providing sponsorship support in the form of travel, equipment, uniforms and other necessary expenses.

“We know there are many youth organizations and groups that are in need of financial support, and the Community Connections Program is one way that we can help them achieve their goals,” a U.S. Cellular spokesperson said. “Because Community Connections is an ongoing program, we are constantly looking at ways to help fund local youth and their organizations throughout the year. Organizations can sign up at to earn up to $1,000.”

Once registered, groups have 14 days to rally their friends, families and supporters to complete the required online activities. Having strong community support puts youth groups in the best position to earn the most money.

Since 2014, Bertram Daniels, area sales manager for U.S. Cellular retail stores throughout Virginia, has served on the board for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southwest Virginia. Said Daniels, “I enjoy building relationships and working with people to achieve their goals. As a dedicated member of the community, U.S. Cellular is committed to supporting programs and organizations that have a positive impact in the lives of area youth.”

Paul Beal, a youth basketball coach, believes that a direct correlation between athletics and life exists. “Athletics teaches us how to work as a team to accomplish a goal, how important time management is and that no one is above being held accountable,” he said. “In my opinion, those are three keys to winning in life.”

Growing up, hockey and basketball were Monnie Spivey’s favorite sports. Now that she has four children, Spivey uses athletics to create memories with her family. “All of my kids are extremely competitive, but in a good way. For example, when my oldest daughter got all A’s and B’s on her report card last year, her siblings said they could do even better. And they ultimately did. I think it’s great that U.S. Cellular is giving back to the community. In today’s climate, every single penny counts.”

Since launching in 2015, the U.S. Cellular Community Connections Program has awarded more than $1.7 million to nearly 2,900 groups nationwide.

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