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How Coach Sam’s Scholars Continued Their Race To Support Students During Pandemic

How Coach Sam’s Scholars Continued Their Race To Support Students During Pandemic

EMS Race Team competes in the Ferrari Challenge to help raise awareness for Coach Sam’s Scholars. ERIN the ems+ Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo approaches the starting line of every race with the Coach Sam’s logo proudly displayed on the hood of her car. The mission for the Coach Sam’s team is to provide educational support to at-risk children in Cleveland, OH through a combination of literacy, personal development and fitness programs. It’s a mission that EMS is proud to represent all over the world.  

Coach Sam’s Scholars developed a winning playbook that has helped students succeed in the classroom and in life for over a decade. For years, passionate Coach Sam’s tutors have entered elementary schools throughout Cleveland and spent countless hours working directly with students after school. But when Coach Sam’s approached the starting line of the pandemic back in March, they quickly realized they’d need to run their race toward a better tomorrow in an entirely different way. 

“We were an after-school program with no school now to come after,” Ori Akrish, Executive Director of Coach Sam’s Scholars recalled. “So we had to completely reinvent the wheel.”

The way that Coach Sam’s Scholars continued to support at-risk children and their families during a pandemic that forced the Cleveland Metropolitan School District to go completely remote has been nothing short of remarkable. With every reason to pause an in-person program until schools opened back up, Coach Sam’s made the inspiring decision to reach even more families. To accomplish this goal, they quickly executed three new initiatives all at the same time that have served as a saving grace for students and families throughout the year. 

“When schools first closed there was a lot of uncertainty,” Akrish added. “One week in, the district announced they were going to close for a short time to conduct a deep cleaning. But we realized very quickly that this wasn’t going to go away, and were able to pivot. 

“What we did was develop a three-pronged approach that includes virtual lessons, learning pods and drop-in centers to support families throughout the city.”

To launch their virtual learning efforts, Coach Sam’s Scholars forged a relationship with the Cleveland Public Library. What resulted from that venture was the Coach Sam’s curriculum actually becoming a part of the school day for students at Andrew J. Rickoff Elementary. Everyday at 2pm during the pandemic, Coach Sam’s instructors have been teaching literacy lessons through virtual platforms to 3rd, 4th and 5th graders during a time period that may not have otherwise been filled. 

The second play that Coach Sam’s called came after recognizing that Cleveland students had a much bigger need than some of the children from other districts outside the city. Specifically, CMSD students did not always have access to technology, a stable internet, or a place for their daily virtual lessons. In response, Coach Sam’s Scholars stepped on the gas and created a partnership with the Rainey Institute and the Salvation Army to open free virtual learning pods for anyone in the district who signed up. Each pod now consists of up to nine students at a time and strictly follows CDC guidelines while working to provide additional support for virtual classroom lessons along with free lunches all week long. If not–with most parents in Cleveland being deemed essential workers–these students would otherwise be at home, alone, without the infrastructure required to even begin to learn.

The third strategy that Coach Sam’s simultaneously developed during the pandemic was an effort to support not just their students but also their students’ families. With many adults throughout Cleveland struggling with literacy themselves, it’s been difficult for some parents to help with their children’s schoolwork. Instead of swerving out of the way, Coach Sam’s Scholars drove straight toward this issue by helping to open drop-in learning centers for students and their families at multiple locations. These drop-in centers in Cleveland are currently staffed by Coach Sam’s instructors who work with both parents and students on their school work.

“With everything we’re doing, we’ve had much higher expenses with more staff in more places than years past,” Akrish said. “But it’s worth it. We continue to be motivated and inspired to do even more in the coming year.”

During this holiday season, consider making a donation to support Coach Sam’s Scholars in the name of a friend or family member. All contributions will help fuel these ongoing efforts to help students throughout Cleveland who might otherwise be left behind.

EMS Race Team Comes From Behind to Earn Pair of Podiums at Spa

EMS Race Team Comes From Behind to Earn Pair of Podiums at Spa

EMS Race Team reminded us during the Ferrari Challenge at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium that it’s not where you start the race it’s where you finish. Driver James Weiland and his team from Ferrari of San Francisco, R3 Motorsports and Rossocorsa started each race at Spa in sixth position. But despite that, Weiland would offer a flurry of highlights in combination with technically sound driving to eventually net a pair of podium finishes.

Following a P2 effort Saturday, ERIN the Electronic Merchant Systems Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo closed the weekend with a P3 on Sunday. Throughout the trip, ERIN consistently lined up her opportunities with precision and moved past the competition one car at a time while securing two more trophies. After earning a victory in Barcelona to open the 2020 campaign, EMS Race Team now has four podium finishes in four races so far this season.

“ERIN did it again,” Weiland said. “We rode her to the podium from our P6 start during each race and had a lot of fun racing with some very good guys. Special thanks to the Ferrari of San Francisco, R3 Motorsports and Rossocorsa team, especially David Cameron and Ray Banda along with coach Conrad Grunewald.”

During Race 1, Weiland earned “Move of the Day” honors from Ferrari Racing for executing a flawless pass. After lining up driver Ernst Kirchmayr who was running in P3, Weiland capitalized on a turn to move past the 109 car along the outside and never looked back. Later in the race he’d make a similar pass to help secure the second position overall after starting sixth. He’d later explain that the team dedicated their performance to the three charities they race to raise awareness for during the trip to Spa.

“We dedicated our race weekend in Belgium to PETA Cruelty Free, Coach Sam’s Inner Circle Foundation and Cornerstone of Hope,” Weiland added. “We just wanted to thank them for everything they do with a solid effort on the track and hopefully we were able to accomplish that in some small way.”

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is the largest animal rights organization in the world, with more than three million members and supporters. Products proudly displaying the bunny logo are cruelty-free, meaning that they were produced without testing on animals. Coach Sam’s Inner Circle Foundation’s mission is to provide educational support to at risk children through a combination of literacy, personal development and health and fitness programs designed to develop the whole child. Cornerstone of Hope, meanwhile, is dedicated to providing support, education, and hope for the grieving.

For behind-the-scenes coverage from the Ferrari Challenge in Belgium visit EMS Race Team on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

EMS Race Team Aiming for Another P1 Finish at Spa

EMS Race Team Aiming for Another P1 Finish at Spa

After earning a victory in Barcelona to open the 2020 campaign, EMS Race Team will now be competing at Spa during the Ferrari Challenge in Belgium on September 11-13. Driver James Weiland and his team from Ferrari of San Francisco, R3 Motorsports and Rossocorsa will be returning to a track where they earned a P1 finish during the 2018 Ferrari Races while looking for a similar result this time. In pursuit of that podium, the team will once again race to raise awareness for PETA Cruelty Free, Coach Sam’s Inner Circle Foundation and Cornerstone of Hope.

Electronic Merchant Systems Race Team earned a pole position in the wet during their last trip to Spa and leveraged that start to a victory. The Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps is the famous host of the Formula One Belgian Grand Prix, the Spa 24 Hours, World Endurance Championships, and many other high-profile racing events along with the Ferrari Challenge. The historic track held its first ever race in 1922 and was used for Grand Prix racing for the first time in 1925. Early on, it quickly developed a reputation for being the fastest track in Europe.

“We’re looking forward to being back at Spa,” Weiland said. “It’s a challenging course but we’ve had great experiences there. Hopefully our team will have another memorable weekend.”

Last month, Weiland shared his experiences as a race car driver in a Ferrari Fast Lane article. He described his feelings and expectations during his eighth year in the Ferrari Challenge while looking forward to the rest of this season.

“It gets harder and harder every year,” Weiland told Ferrari Races in the article. “But I love this series – it’s fantastic. Plus I love the environment, the drivers are great people and I really feel at ease. I have fun, my family has fun, and the circuits are great. I simply love it.”

The charities that EMS Race Team races to raise awareness for starts with PETA, the largest animal rights organization in the world. Coach Sam’s Inner Circle Foundation is also represented on the car and their mission is to provide educational support to at risk children through a combination of literacy, personal development and health programs designed to develop the whole child. Cornerstone of Hope, meanwhile, is dedicated to providing support, education, and hope for the grieving.

For behind-the-scenes coverage of the Ferrari Challenge in Belgium follow EMS Race Team on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

EMS Race Team Opens 2020 Ferrari Challenge with a Victory in Barcelona

EMS Race Team Opens 2020 Ferrari Challenge with a Victory in Barcelona

EMS Race Team opened the 2020 Ferrari Challenge with a bang. Soon after arriving at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain, driver James Weiland and ERIN the Electronic Merchant Systems Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo secured pole position for Race 1 and never looked back. After an explosive move from the starting line to begin the race, EMS went on to secure a wire-to-wire victory that was never in doubt. The win was Weiland’s fourth-straight dating back to the 2019 Ferrari World Finals where he earned the title of World Champion.

“James Weiland enjoyed the best possible return to the Ferrari Challenge Europe with a commanding victory ahead of the star of Imola, Roger Grouwels,” Ferrari wrote in their recap of the race from Barcelona. “When the lights went out, Weiland got off to an excellent start to enter turn one ahead of Ernst Kirchmayr and Fons Scheltema. The race pace was remarkable, and after one lap Weiland already enjoyed a 2.6-second advantage over the first of the pursuers.”

By lap 10, ERIN had pushed out to a six-second lead over the next closest driver.  When the checkered flag eventually flew, EMS Race Team would finalize a margin of +10.465 over the competition before stepping onto the podium in P1.

 

“It was a very good day,” Weiland said during his press conference from Barcelona following the victory. “I had a good jump at the lights and was able to get on the racing line and just slot into the first turn normally. The car was just super from beginning to end. I just tried to drive solid and respectable laps and bring her home. I wish every race would end up like this one. I’ve had plenty that ended up differently, but this was a really good day.”

Following the victory, Weiland and his team from Ferrari of San Francisco, R3 Motorsports and Rossocorsa would conclude the weekend with another podium appearance in Race 2. While the P1 streak ended at four, ERIN and company did do enough to earn a second-place finish while wrapping up a successful trip to Spain.

“Our team from Ferrari of San Francisco, R3 Motorsports and Rossocorsa did a great job preparing us to race all weekend.” Weiland added. “Special thanks to Jim Malicki, Dave Cameron and Ray Banda for an immaculately tuned and prepared race car along with my driving coach Conrad Grunewald. Also wanted to thank the charities we race to raise awareness for at PETA Cruelty Free, Cornerstone of Hope and Coach Sam’s Inner Circle Foundation for all the great work they continue to do in the community.”

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is the largest animal rights organization in the world, with more than three million members and supporters. Products proudly displaying the bunny logo are cruelty-free, meaning that they were produced without testing on animals. Coach Sam’s Inner Circle Foundation’s mission is to provide educational support to at risk children through a combination of literacy, personal development and health and fitness programs designed to develop the whole child. Cornerstone of Hope, meanwhile, is dedicated to providing support, education, and hope for the grieving.

For more coverage from Barcelona, be sure to follow EMS Race Team on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Up next for EMS is the Ferrari Challenge at the Mugello Circuit in Tuscany, Italy on August 28-30th.

EMS Race Team to Open 2020 Ferrari Challenge in Barcelona, Spain

EMS Race Team to Open 2020 Ferrari Challenge in Barcelona, Spain

EMS Race Team will make its 2020 Ferrari Challenge debut in Barcelona, Spain on July 18-19. Racing once again to raise awareness for PETA Cruelty Free, Cornerstone of Hope and Coach Sam’s Inner Circle Foundation, driver James Weiland and his crew from Ferrari of San Francisco will look to start this new campaign the way they ended their last one.

While competing at the Mugello Circuit in Italy against the best Ferrari Challenge drivers in the world, Weiland and company closed out 2019 by securing three victories during the Ferrari World Finals. Along with those wins at Mugello, EMS Race Team also earned P1 finishes in Bahrain, Le Mans and Nürburgring last year. This trip to Spain will be the first time that EMS has competed at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya which will host this weekend’s event.

“We’re excited to be able to get back to racing,” Weiland said. “We know that Barcelona will be an excellent host for the Ferrari Challenge and we’re looking forward to competing on a circuit we’ve never raced before. I’m sure there will be some challenges, like there are on any opening weekend, but our main focus will be on giving the best effort we can as a team and living with the results from there.”

The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya first opened for racing in 1991. Located in Montmeló, the track has hosted the Spanish Formula 1 Grand Prix every year its been open along with the Catalan MotoGP Grand Prix and other high-profile racing events. Michael Schumacher holds the F1 record with six wins at Catalunya while Lewis Hamilton has won there four times. This week’s Ferrari Challenge marks the second stop of the European FC series which officially opened the year in Imola earlier this month.

“It will be great for us to be able to help raise awareness for PETA Cruelty Free, Coach Sam’s Inner Circle and Cornerstone of Hope during our trip to Barcelona,” Weiland added. “We’re proud of the work that each of those charities continue to do on a regular basis and we’ll do our best to help raise awareness for them while we’re in Spain.”

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is the largest animal rights organization in the world, with more than three million members and supporters. Products proudly displaying the bunny logo are cruelty-free, meaning that they were produced without testing on animals. Coach Sam’s Inner Circle Foundation’s mission is to provide educational support to at risk children through a combination of literacy, personal development and health and fitness programs designed to develop the whole child. Cornerstone of Hope, meanwhile, is dedicated to providing support, education, and hope for the grieving.

For behind-the-scenes coverage of the Ferrari Challenge in Spain be sure to follow EMS Race Team on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. After competing in Barcelona, EMS is currently slated to then race this year in Portimao (August 1-2), Mugello (August 28-30), Spa-Francorchamps (September 11-13), Misano (September 26-27), Dubai (October 8-10) and AbuDhabi (November 4-7).

The 2020 Ferrari Challenge Series Preview for EMS Race Team

The 2020 Ferrari Challenge Series Preview for EMS Race Team

EMS Race Team closed the 2019 Ferrari Challenge Series with a bang. Racing the Mugello Circuit in Italy during the Ferrari World Finals, driver James Weiland and ERIN the Electronic Merchant Systems Ferrari 488 Challenge won three times. The team dedicated their three victories on the Ferrari Challenge’s biggest stage to each of the charities that EMS races to raise awareness for. Those missions include PETA Cruelty Free, Coach Sam’s Inner Circle Foundation and Cornerstone of Hope.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is the largest animal rights organization in the world. Products proudly displaying the bunny logo are cruelty-free, meaning that they were produced without testing on animals. Coach Sam’s Inner Circle Foundation’s mission is to provide educational support to at risk children through a combination of literacy, personal development and health and fitness programs designed to develop the whole child. Cornerstone of Hope, meanwhile, is dedicated to providing support, education, and hope for the grieving. EMS will continue racing to raise awareness for each of these critically important causes throughout the 2020 campaign.

Highlighted by wins last season in Bahrain, France, Germany and Italy, Weiland and his team secured 10 podium finishes throughout the year. During the 2018 Ferrari Challenge, they finished on the podium seven times. To put an exclamation point on 2019, the crew from Ferrari of San Francisco executed flawlessly at Mugello when it mattered most. They put their driver in a position to win and the overall performance of the team earned high praise from Ferrari Challenge coach Conrad Grunewald to conclude the year.

“This is my 19th year in this industry and I’ve never seen such a dominant display of driving in this series,” Grunewald said. “Three wins in an incredibly stacked field, including the World Championship race with all the drivers from around the world combined. Incredible job by Jim Weiland.”

While pleased with the effort, EMS Race Team knows they will need to be even better when they get back on the track in 2020. It will take a dedicated effort throughout the season by the entire team once again to navigate a highly competitive field of drivers and challenging tracks.

“You always want to improve and get better every year,” Weiland said heading into the 2020 Ferrari Challenge. “We had some good results last season and we are proud of the way we competed. But it’s a new year now and that comes with new goals.”

The 2020 Ferrari Challenge begins at the Daytona International Speedway in Florida on January 23-25 when the North American series gets underway. The Asia Pacific series opens for racing on March 5-7 at Bahrain, while the European Ferrari Challenge will hold its first competition of the new year on April 3-5 back at Mugello.

EMS Race Team’s official schedule for the 2020 campaign is listed below.

  • March 5-7 – Bahrain
  • April 3-5 – Mugello in Italy
  • May 8-10 – Portimao in Portugal
  • June 5-7 – Brno in Czech Republic
  • June 12-14 – Circuit-Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal
  • June 19-21 – Hockenheim in Germany
  • July 17-19 – Barcelona in Spain
  • August 28-30 – Watkins Glen International in New York
  • September 11-13 – Spa Francorchamps in Belgium
  • September 18-20 – Singapore
  • November 4-7 – Abu Dhabi (Finali Mondiali)

Be sure to follow EMS Race Team on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all season long for the latest news and updates.