Team Up FAQ

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What is the Team Up Challenge?

The Team Up Challenge is a service learning program that allows students to apply what they are learning in the classroom in real ways that benefit their communities. Through these service learning projects youth are empowered to change the world, starting right here in San Antonio. The initiative spans 24 school districts. Students create projects in one of five categories: Arts & Culture, Education, Environment, Health & Wellness or Uniformed Services.

What is service learning?

Service learning gives kids a chance to apply learning in the real world, away from the classroom and formal instruction. It connects life experiences with school subjects, bringing education alive in powerful ways. For examples of projects visit our Highlight Reel. To see studies on how service learning impacts achievement visit:

Who is eligible for the Team Up Challenge?

Academic year: Applications may be submitted by K-12 teacher or club sponsors from San Antonio area public, private and charter schools. The Team Up Challenge spans 24 school districts. For a complete list of these districts please click here.

Summer: Area nonprofits within 75 miles can apply for the Summer Team Up Challenge. They must be a 501©3.

How do I apply for the Team Up Challenge?

Click here to apply! You’ll find the applications for the Academic, Summer and Anytime programs. The applications will include submission deadlines.

Do I need to create a new club in order to apply?

No! An existing club may apply for the Team Up Challenge; however, each Team Up Challenge application must tie curriculum into the project. For example, the National Honors Society may apply for the Team Up Challenge, but must actively create a service-learning project. Some classes, clubs or teams may already be engaged in a service-learning project. These classes, clubs and teams are encouraged to apply for the Team Up Challenge.

What if there are more than 50 students on my ‘team’?

You should still apply! The more the merrier. However, we do ask that the core of the team not exceed 50 members. The core of a team is defined by the students who are involved on committees, plan events, and act as leaders for the class, club or team. Each Team Up Challenge semi-finalist will receive a maximum of 50 Team Up Challenge t-shirts.

What if what I want to do does not fit in to one of the five categories?

Your project must fall into one of five categories: Arts & Culture, Education, Environment, Health & Wellness or Uniformed Services. However, if for example you’d like to work with animals, you can tailor your project so that it falls under one of these five categories. You can educate your community on the benefits of spaying/neutering their pets. Or you can host clinics for free vaccinations for animals, which falls under the environment category. These categories are meant to guide your project and learning objectives.

Does the $20,000 Champion award have to go to my class, club or team?

No, the $20,000 does not have to benefit your class, club or team. But it is required that you specify how and where the funds will be appropriated. The money can serve another need in your school or community, or go to a nonprofit you’re working with. If selected as a Team Up Challenge champion, we will expect a signed letter from your principal or executive director confirming that the funds will be used as outlined in your Team Up Challenge application.

How much “school” needs to be in my project?

The importance of the curriculum to your project is essential. Be creative, but make sure that learning objectives play an important role in what you want to accomplish. For example: are you building a playground? Then you’ll probably be learning geometry, surveying, and more. For examples of projects you can see our Highlight Reel.

How are the semi-finalists and finalists selected?

Academic year: Silver & Black Give Back has an all-star Team Up Challenge review committee to help us determine semi-finalists. The committee receives and reviews the Team Up Challenge applications and scores each application individually. Be specific in your application! This will provide our review committee with the best opportunity to make an informed decision.
Summer: In the Summer we pair a Junior Review Committee (past Team Up Challenge participants) with our adult Review Committee to help give away $40,000 to nonprofits doing service learning projects. They determine how much each group should get based on their application.

How are the Champions selected?

In the Academic Year, Silver & Black Give Back will reconvene the review committee to determine the Team Up Challenge Champions. Each semi-finalist team must turn in their benchmark reports and final reflection pieces on time in order to be eligible. The review committee will again score each semi-finalist individually. The public will also have an opportunity to go online and vote for their favorite project. Online voting accounts for 5% of the final score. Silver & Black Give Back will tally both of these scores –the review committee and the online voting – in addition to the body of work submitted over the course of the program to determine the Team Up Challenge Champions.

Will a champion be selected from each category?

No. The categories are used to help classes, clubs and teams determine a project that best suits their capabilities. While each class, club or team must choose from one of these five categories, a champion may not be selected from each category.

How can I get a player to visit my school?

Player appearances are determined based on the team’s schedule, the availability of the players, and the activity outline you provide in your application. The appearance of a player or mascot gives no bearing on the champion decision.


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