Silver & Black Give Back, the non-profit partner of the Spurs Sports and Entertainment family, has partnered up with Trinity students for their program, the Team Up Challenge.

The Team Up Challenge is an annual student-led service-learning program in which students address a need in their community with the help of college students.

Students who are part of a club, team or class in schools across San Antonio create proposals for projects to improve their community. They then submit them to the Team Up Challenge, which selects 20 semi-finalists who receive $2,500 to begin their project. The program runs from October to April and culminates by awarding five teams $20,000 to continue and expand their project. Each team is paired with a college student to serve as a mentor.

“My role is to help facilitate their ideas,” said senior Angela Chen, a Team Up Challenge scholar. “I am just there to help them think through their project and be their support system as a role model to see what it is like to be a college student.”

The scholars are chosen from universities in San Antonio and paired with a group of kids based on shared interests in one of the five categories: health & wellness, education, uniformed services, arts & culture and environment.

“We look for passion for community work, passion for working with children and passion for mentoring them and helping them implement their own project,” said Ivan Jovanov, Silver & Black Give Back community responsibility fellow.

Trinity senior Maddie Winchester heard about the Team Up Challenge through the Department of Education email list and applied in September.

“In the last few years, I have come to realize how important mentorship is to helping kids develop their full potential, and education is one of the most important things that we can give to children,” Winchester said. “This is about service learning as opposed to just community service, what kids can learn about themselves and what skills they can develop from this experience.”

One of last year’s Team Up Challenge champions’ proposal was a community garden to educate people on growing their own food, composting and healthy living in general. The project expanded into an entire greenhouse for growing food to donate to the San Antonio Food Bank.

The Team Up Challenge scholars and schools were paired on Monday; however, the pairings will not be released to the public until later this month.

Trinity has the most representation of all the participating San Antonio colleges this year, with Trinity students representing seven of the 20 scholars.

“We find the Trinity scholars to be very passionate and very engaged in the community,” said Kristine Lim, Team Up Challenge coordinator.

The seven Trinity scholars chosen for this year are Angela Chen, Timothy Davison, Bryony Harris, Markham Sigler, Elizabeth Southwick, Ethan Valdes and Maddie Winchester.