He Puts a New Spin on Fitness for Kids

April 21, 2011 5:45 AM

Carol J. Schlueter

Zach Shraberg’s professor issued the assignment: either write a research paper or come up with a socially innovative idea. “A lightbulb went off in my head,” Shraberg says. “To introduce disc golf in public schools in New Orleans; that would be a great thing to do.”

Tulane Empowers


At Banneker Elementary School, Tulane student Zach Shraberg teaches disc golf during physical education classes. (Photos by Paula Burch-Celentano)

disc golf

Aiming for the basket, a young student practices his disc toss on the Banneker playground.

And now with his “Threw Dat” project, Shraberg is volunteering to teach the sport of disc golf each Tuesday to first-through-eighth grade students at Banneker Elementary School, located in the university neighborhood.

A disc golf player for 10 years, Shraberg thought kids would enjoy learning to toss a flying disc into a series of baskets, competing in relay games and other fun activities.

“It’s something very accessible,” he says, especially for students with limited fitness levels. Kids in the Crescent City need everything that the sport can provide — “self confidence, sportsmanship … it’s a very healthy, active sport, mentally and physically.”

Shraberg’s lightbulb moment came during his class, “Education in a Diverse Society,” taught by Carol Whelan, professor of practice. A New Orleans native and a student in the Tulane Teacher Preparation and Certification Program, he hopes to be teaching social studies full time in a secondary school this fall.

Like many Tulane students these days, Shraberg is a social entrepreneur who wants to improve the world around him. So, he secured seed money for disc golf equipment through a competitive pitch to the nonprofit Youth Venture, and then got funds from another nonprofit to help buy curriculum materials.

He wants to keep disc golf spinning in New Orleans.

“My goal is to get more funds, buy more materials and improve children’s lives by introducing them to disc golf. I want to bring this sport to other schools and let them carry on the program,” Shraberg says.

He hopes other Tulane students who need to fulfill service-learning hours will email him and join in the project.

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