By tamaraThose who know me can attest to the fact that my closest is comprised of mainly two colors: teal and black. Why? I am a die-hard Jacksonville Jaguar fan (let the London Jaguar and other jokes commence). Regardless of their record on the field (it’s been a rough year so far), I remain true to my team. I may not be your typical football fan, as I do not attend the games for the gridiron action. Instead, I am a season ticket owner because I choose to support a team that has given so much to my community. Like many major league teams, the Jaguars provide financial support to local hospitals, charities and educational programs. Whether it’s the National Football League (NFL) or Major League Baseball (MLB), sports organizations across the country are stepping up to help local students achieve their dreams of a college education. Here’s a sample of how some of the teams are giving back. NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE Pittsburg Penguins – Since 1992, The Penguins have awarded over $100,000 in scholarships to deserving high school seniors. Their programs include: Inner-City Scholarship: A total of three $1,500 scholarships Bob Johnson Memorial Scholarship: One $5,000 scholarship Penguins Alumni Association Scholarship: One $2,000 scholarship Vancouver Canucks – Students in British Columbia have the opportunity to participate in a variety of programs through the Canucks: Larry Ashley Memorial Scholarship Program: One $2,500 scholarship Trevor Linden Community Spirit Scholarship: Four $2,500 scholarships Including the following awards in partnership with Pacific Coast Amateur Hockey Association, Canucks for Kids Fund and BC Hockey Benevolent Association: Stan Smyl Scholarship Award: One $3,000 scholarship Dennis Kearns Scholarship Award: One $750 scholarship Orland Kurtenbach Scholarship Award: One $750 scholarship Pat Quinn Scholarship Award: One $750 scholarship MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL In 2007, Major League Baseball Charities, Inc. established the “RBI (Runs Batted In) for RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) Scholarship Fund to help provide financial assistance to students participating in the RBI (inner-city) program. As many as 12 scholarships, each valued up to $5,000 (depending on tuition and fees) are available annually. Applicants must be high school seniors or recent graduates, with a grade point average of 2.5 or higher, and must demonstrate leadership abilities through community activities. Minnesota Twins – The Diamond and Dreams Scholarship Program is managed by the Minnesota Twins Community Fund and provides support to the Upper Midwest states and Southwest Florida youth. Up to twenty $2,000 scholarships are awarded annually. To be considered for the program, students must meet the following criteria: Must be a U.S. resident, living in one of the following states: Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, or southwest Florida Must be a high school senior Must have a grade point average of 2.5 or higher Must play or volunteer with an organized youth baseball/softball organization NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION Miami Heat – For the past 17 years, the Miami Heat has helped high school seniors in Miami-Dade, Broward or Palm Beach schools by providing the following college scholarships: HEAT Scholarship: Two $2,500.00 scholarships Dr. Jack Ramsay Scholarship: One $2,500.00 scholarship Alec Kessler Student-Athlete Scholarship: One $2,500.00 scholarship New York Knicks – The Knicks Poetry Scholars Program, in partnership with Urban Word NYC, provides several full-tuition scholarships to high school seniors from the tri-state area (New York, New Jersey and Connecticut). Students must attend the University of Wisconsin, Syracuse University, St. John’s University, Pace University, or Mercy College to be considered for the award. NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE Baltimore Ravens – Each year, the Ravens award five renewable $5,000 scholarships to area seniors who attend high school in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, or Carroll County. Students are awarded the scholarships based on academic merit and financial need. Carolina Panthers – The Panthers provide two separate scholarship programs for area students. Carolina Panthers Scholarship: Two $10,000 scholarships (one male/one female) for student-athletes (North Carolina and South Carolina) who are seeking support for graduate level studies. Carolina Panthers Players Sam Mills Memorial Scholarship: Two $5,100 scholarships (one male/one female) for outstanding high school senior student-athletes who reside in either Mecklenburg County, North Carolina or Spartanburg County, South Carolina. NFL Players Association: Former players of the National Football League provide several $2,500 scholarships annually through the Professional Athletes Foundation (PAF). This year, 51 scholarships were awarded to high school seniors from across the country. The PAF Students Scholarships are designed to help varsity athletes who plan to attend a college but will not receive an athletic scholarship. The NFL also offers a weekly scholarship award to students (ages 6 to 15) as part of their NFLRush Fantasy Football Contest. Each week, the student with the highest number of fantasy points will receive $1,000. At the end of the contest (Super Bowl kickoff), the student with the most points will receive two tickets to a future NFL game and a $10,000 scholarship. Even if you don’t know a thing about the game, you might just get lucky enough to win one week! The next time you are cheering on your favorite team, don’t forget how much the organization and players give back to the community. They may not always have a winning record on the field, but the scholarships they provide to students help thousands score where it matters most – in school. To learn more about available athletic scholarships or other financial aid programs in your area, don’t forget to check out ScholarshipExperts.com.