Local charter school to receive first community rugby field in Memphis
MEMPHIS, Tenn., May 18, 2017 – Republic Services, along with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis, today announced that it will fund the first community rugby field in Memphis for the nationally recognized rugby team at Gestalt Community Schools’ Power Center Academy (PCA).
Funding for the field was secured through a $250,000 grant from Republic Services through its National Neighborhood Promise community engagement initiative. The company will work in collaboration with the school and Memphis Habitat to complete the field, along with additional volunteer and neighborhood revitalization projects.
“During the grant application process, we learned so much about the positive impact the game of rugby has had on Power Center Academy’s scholars and the Eden Square community,” said Brandon Colom, general manager of Republic Services of Memphis. “Republic Services wanted to be part of this movement because we understand the power of neighborhood revitalization. This field will not only be used for recreational purposes, but it will also serve as a constant reminder that communities work best with collaboration. We foresee this project having an important and lasting impact on the community and its residents.”
Memphis Habitat, which recently completed nine homes in the Eden Square development near the school and plans to build additional homes there, helped connect Republic Services to Gestalt and PCA.
“Habitat is known for building and improving homes, but we also want to be a strong partner to the organizations that anchor the communities we serve,” said Dwayne Spencer, president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis. “Strong and stable homes help build strong and stable communities, and we are proud to be a part of making another piece of this area’s neighborhood plan a reality.”
When PCA was founded in 2011, scholars asked for the chance to play football, but space and cost posed challenges. Teacher Shane Young, co-founder of Memphis Inner City Rugby, stepped in with an alternative: rugby. From losing nearly all their games in the first year to competing in the 2014 State Championship, the PCA Knights have grown tremendously over the past four years. In fact, three players have gone on to become national All-Stars. Recently the team was featured in a short documentary, David Darg’s “The Rugby Boys of Memphis,” which was presented at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival.
“One of the most impactful ways our scholar-athletes excel in sports and academics is through the power of rugby,” Young said. “Beyond college scholarships and other higher-education opportunities, rugby offers our scholars a chance to grow as individuals, as well as teammates. This field provided by Republic Services will take their enthusiasm and athleticism to a new level.”
Rugby team members were surprised earlier today in a reveal event hosted by Republic Services and Memphis Habitat. The students thought they were simply meeting representatives from Republic, who also provided the team new uniforms, but were excited to learn they would be getting their own rugby field.
A volunteer cleanup day with Republic Services and Memphis Habitat is scheduled for the summer to prepare the rugby field for construction. Anticipated completion of the field is set for fall of 2017.
About Republic Services:
Republic Services is an industry leader in U.S. recycling and non-hazardous solid waste. Through its subsidiaries, Republic’s collection companies, recycling centers, transfer stations and landfills focus on providing effective solutions to make proper waste disposal effortless for its 14 million customers. We’ll handle it from here.™, the brand’s promise, lets customers know they can count on Republic to provide a superior experience while fostering a sustainable Blue Planet™ for future generations to enjoy a cleaner, safer and healthier world. For more information, visit RepublicServices.com.
About Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis:
Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis partners with people in our community to help them build or improve places they can call home through new home construction, rehabilitation projects and Aging in Place accessibility and mobility modifications for seniors. Since 1983, Memphis Habitat has helped more than 480 first-time homebuyers secure affordable mortgages and completed rehabilitation and home modification projects in partnership with more than 330 local homeowners, helping them achieve the independence they need to build a better life for themselves and their families. For more information, visit memphishabitat.com.
About Power Center Academy High School:
Part of the Gestalt Community Schools network, Power Center Academy High School is an academic and athletic powerhouse where scholars learn to think globally and act locally. At the Power Center schools in Hickory Hill, the strong belief of the founding team and the community as a whole was the need for increased financial literacy and more entrepreneurship. The Power Center schools offer a curriculum built, in part, by an emphasis on financial literacy and an entrepreneurial mindset. For more information, visit gestaltcs.org/power-center-high/.