Fans of Shelby County sports might recognize the DART Media Group. The DMG has been providing free live streaming of Shelby County sports since 2018. Dave Blondell and Curt Correll started live streaming sporting events in the fall of 2018 to support a fellow parent of a Southwestern student. This became the mission of the DART Media Group – to provide free live access to events for those who cannot attend.
Master Sergeant Mike Van Gorden, a Shelbyville High School graduate and super Spartan fan, needed a way to watch his children’s athletic events as he battled cancer from the hospital. Blondell and Correll worked with local athletic directors and school administrators to gain approval, as well as access to provide this for Van Gorden. The response was what you’d expect.
“As soon as we’d connect with the athletic directors about why we were contacting them – they’d quickly say, ‘we 100 percent support you and let us know how we can help,’” said Correll.
Since those early days, the DMG has broadcasted cross county, soccer, volleyball, baseball, swimming, graduations and, yes, several Shelby County basketball games. Sports fans can find past DMG broadcasts on their YouTube channel (DART Media Group). With nearly 500 broadcasts in the last four years, they’ve been able to have the friends and families of these kids watch from nearly every state, plus multiple countries across the world.
In 2019, DMG began having members of the community show their support with donations.
“Our very first sponsor, Brady Smith of Flat Rock Ag, contacted me after he heard about our broadcasts and our mission around Mike,” Correll said. “Brady handed me a check and said use it to help support these kids and families.”
Additionally, the man behind the mission, Mike Van Gorden, wanted to support DMG and provided donations for a scoreboard app used during games (bears his initials). Since then, multiple local businesses and individual families have made donations to support the DMG, who uses the contributions to offset operational cost but more importantly, to fully fund a very special project.
Van Gorden lost his fight on Oct. 22, 2019. To honor him, Blondell and Correll created the Mike Van Gorden Scholarship, funded entirely by community donations. The scholarship is designed for post-secondary education in sports management, journalism, business, informatics or marketing. Intentionally, the scholarship is also geared towards the Core-40 graduate as neither Blondell or Correll were at the top of their classes. They wanted to find a way to help someone like themselves.
“We felt that the mission behind our DMG could be bigger. We needed to find a way to take the tragedy of losing Mike and ensure we made it mean something positive in our community,” Blondell said. “How better to support these kids than a scholarship given in Mike’s name.”
Last year, the scholarship was given to Southwestern senior Decklan Pappano as he pursued exercise science at IUPUI.
Flash forward to this school year: Blondell and Correll are excited to announce the second annual MVG scholarship.
“We are really excited to share that this year, after tremendous community support, we are giving away not one but two $1,000 dollar scholarships,” Blondell said. “Just like last year, we will be presenting one scholarship to a 2021 Southwestern senior.
“The new, second scholarship will be open to all 2021 seniors in Shelby County. We have been blessed with support from the community and want to give even more back. The scholarship is now open for applicants to apply.”
Please visit www.dart mediagroup.com/scholarship for more information. The DMG has created a very non-traditional application process. Submissions are due by 11:59 p.m. on May 21. Blondell and Correll are looking forward to reviewing all the scholarship applicants and announcing the winners in late May.
Keep in touch with the DMG on Twitter @DART MediaGroup or find out more about becoming a supporter of the Mike Van Gorden Scholarship at their website (www.DART MediaGroup.com).