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2014 NCAA Final Four teams up with Dallas youth service project

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Charlotte Jones Anderson at SLANT announcement
Charlotte Jones Anderson, Dallas Cowboys executive vice president and chair of the NCAA's North Texas Local Organizing Committee, was on hand at Charles Rice Learning Center to check out the students' projects. Photo by Alex Bentley
Children in SLANT program at Charles Rice Learning Center in Dallas
Charles Rice students were hard at work making creative designs for mosaic stepping stones. Photo by Alex Bentley
Children in SLANT program at Charles Rice Learning Center in Dallas
Students also painted crates to be used for library shelves in the portable classrooms at Charles Rice. Photo by Alex Bentley
Charlotte Jones Anderson at SLANT announcement
Children in SLANT program at Charles Rice Learning Center in Dallas
Children in SLANT program at Charles Rice Learning Center in Dallas

When the 2014 NCAA Men's Final Four basketball tournament comes to AT&T Stadium, in April, it won't be the only huge happening in town. That's because the NCAA and the North Texas Local Organizing Committee are teaming up to give back to the community. 

SLANT, which stands for Service Learning Adventures in North Texas, is a popular youth education program created by the North Texas Super Bowl XLV Host Committee. The program is being re-emphasized as an NCAA legacy project for the tournament.

SLANT has never really gone away following Super Bowl XLV in February 2011. Although it had served its purpose as a broad effort, SLANT has continued on a smaller level thanks to Big Thought, the Dallas-based company that originally designed the program.

But in December 2013, a new SLANT website will launch to encourage schoolchildren to identify needs in their communities and come up with projects around those needs. Students in grades third through eighth will be able to choose projects in four categories: health and wellness, education and literacy, hunger and homelessness or environmental impact.

Beyond that, the only limit will be their own creativity. The announcement for the revival of SLANT was held at Charles Rice Learning Center in Dallas, where a group of third through fifth graders were getting a head start on their own projects.

Those projects include decorating crates that will be used as library shelves in the portable classrooms at the school, and coming up with designs of glass, rocks and other materials for mosaic stepping stones that will be used to beautify Lincoln High School, Madison High School and Billy E. Dade Middle School in Dallas.

The main thrust of the program will continue through March 2014, leading up to the Final Four on April 5 and 7.

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