Many of my meetings with politicians, foundation leaders, corporate donors and other supporters end up with same question: "how do you know it works?" The "it" is sports-based youth development. Sports-based youth development (which we call SBYD) is the practice of using sports to engage at-risk youth in life lessons and skills development that help them make better choices for their future. These choices include staying in school, graduating, living a healthier lifestyle, saying no to gangs, avoiding other risky behaviors and, perhaps, most importantly, believing in your own potential. Every athlete and former athlete knows that "it" works. But we, at Up2Us, wanted to prove it.
This week, we released our newest report, "Front Runners: Leaders of the Sports-Based Youth Development Pack". This report looks at how sports programs that incorporate the important element elements of youth development in their designs are having dramatic impact on health, educational and pro-social outcomes. All of the programs outlined in the report have undergone outside evaluation to validate their results.
What does this mean for our youth and our nation?
It means that there is a new field out there that may very well be the most effective solution to childhood obesity, high drop-out rates, gangs and teen pregnancy: it's SBYD. And Up2Us is leading the nation in supporting SBYD organizations in every state so that they can serve more kids, make our communities healthier, and inspire the next generation of Americans with the skills to succeed.
If you played a sport, you get it.
If you didn't play a sport, take a look at this report. You will get it.
Paul Caccamo Executive Director
For an online copy of the "Front Runners" report, visit the resources page of our website.