Organization sponsors pro athletes in classrooms

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Feb. 21, 2015) - One organization is hoping to change the lives for young students across the nation by bringing pro athletes to classrooms.

Sports World has been around for over 30 years. Their mission is sending former professional athletes into classrooms and sharing their messages of struggle and success. Just last week alone, they reached more than 6,000 students in Central Indiana.

Saturday, a fundraising event was held at the Colts practice facility.  Schools don't have to pay a dime to bring in the athletes, but for the organization, it costs $10,000 per week.  The fundraiser helps support those costs. FOX59's Fanchon Stinger was a guest speaker and the keynote speaker was former Colts coach, Tony Dungy.

“We want to get to as many schools as possible. We believe the message we are bringing is very relevant and very much needed," says Sports World President and CEO, Devon McDonald.

Former pro athletes receive training and then head to schools all over the country, spreading the message of faith and hope. They share their personal success stories with the students and use their role model status to help inspire them to do well in school and be active in their communities.

"People look up to us because of what we did and what we are able to accomplish in our lives, so when we come in there, maybe something we said will bring a different message," says former Colts player, Gary Brackett.

The athletes are also learning from the experience.

“When the athletes see it happen and they see a difference in a young person and they say 'wow, I helped do that,' that’s very special," says former Colts coach, Tony Dungy.

12-year-old Raushaun Ridley is a success story of the Sports World program. He says, "I became a more responsible person. My grades went up. I’m now a straight A student. I started reading a lot more."

You can find out more about the Sports World program by clicking here.