For this holiday season, will you give a coach? Often when I meet successful adults, I ask them what, if anything, contributed to their accomplishments. Do you know what many of them say?
“It was my high school coach who believed in me…”
“It was my football coach who inspired me…”
“It was my track coach who wouldn’t take ‘no, I can’t’ as an answer from me.”
Anyone who’s ever played sports knows the power of a coach as a mentor and role model. Many of us still remember some of the life lessons that our coaches taught us. But today, the state of youth sports in America is in sharp decline especially in low-income neighborhoods where young people need coaches the most. Schools that face continuing budget cuts have been forced to eliminate youth sports programs. The result is not just gyms that are now empty, but for millions of kids, life lessons that will never be learned.
That's why I am writing this today. I need you to help me reverse this trend. I dream of a country in which every child has a coach who believes in him, who helps her get through school, who teaches him a healthier lifestyle, and who inspires her to believe in success. This is not just about sports; it’s about improving educational outcomes, reducing youth violence and ending childhood obesity.
My program, Coach Across America, has hired and trained over 1,750 coaches to work with more than 260,000 disadvantaged youth over the past six years. These coaches have motivated kids to be the first in their families to go to college. They have influenced kids to say no to gangs and violence. They have encouraged children to exercise and make better nutritional choices.
Half of the coaches I have hired have been women. Most of the coaches I've hired have come from the same community where they serve. An increasing number of coaches I've hired are veterans returning from war who have discovered that the values they upheld abroad are just as valuable here at home. The values of teamwork, leadership, and discipline define success on a basketball court, in a classroom, in a community, and throughout a lifetime.
That’s why I’m asking you to give a coach this holiday season. I will use your donation to hire and train more coaches to inspire more youth to overcome challenges in this nation’s poorest communities. I can promise you that your donation will have impact. We have undergone an external evaluation and found that every dollar you donate saves this country $29 in costs associated with poor health, neighborhood violence, and kids dropping out of school.
I won’t stop until we build a national workforce of trained coaches who ensure that all children learn these lessons and discover their own capacity for success.
Won’t you help me get there?
Paul Caccamo Up2Us Sports CEO & Founder