The Indiana Fever had time to host an educational program before the team took on the Chicago Sky in a preseason game on Thursday, May 16, at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.


The team presented its “Choices for Champions” program to nearly 2,000 students, ranging from fourth to eighth grade. The educational opportunity centers on anti-bullying and healthy lifestyle choices, with the goal of empowering youth, helping to build self-confidence around everyday challenges, and finding ways to maintain a positive outlook.


Comprised largely of students from Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) since the program’s inception in 2010, the annual educational event welcomed students from 15 different schools.


“Choices for Champions is a high-impact, high-energy event that has helped our students understand what it means to live a healthy lifestyle and make positive choices, while engaging with their Fever heroes,” said Interim Superintendent Aleesia Johnson. “Our students always walk away from this event with a new mindset on bullying and our schools have seen the benefits in their school culture.”


The event tipped off with anti-bullying messages presented by Camishe Nunley, owner of the Healing Your Hidden Hurts agency, dedicated to trauma survivors. Its “Building Resiliency in Children” anti-bullying program delivered information on ways to create an atmosphere where bullying is not permitted.


Fever Coach Pokey Chatman and star forward Natalie Achonwa lead a panel on body image and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, followed by a presentation from Video Game Palooza, a nonprofit foundation dedicated to tapping into students’ natural passion for playing and making video games. The organization’s Create & Play sector runs camps during the summer teaching youth how to create graphics, video games and code.


The event was capped by a presentation from Playworks Indiana, a local agency that helps children stay active and build social and emotional skills through play. Playworks discussed the importance of play in a student’s daily activity and unique, effective ways for conflict resolution.


Every student received a WNBA playbook titled “Her Time to Play,” featuring players from every WNBA team addressing a variety of personal and social issues. Students also participated in activities stationed throughout the Fieldhouse concourse and had fun in the Fever’s Family Fun Zone presented by Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St. Vincent.