Today, Up2us Sports celebrates our seventh anniversary. Seven - a number often associated with luck. Well, I do feel lucky. Half of start-up nonprofits fail within the first five years. And, of those that survive, only 20% grow to our size and budget.
But is it really luck? After all, many who study luck recognize that there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes than a simple roll of the dice. Those who are lucky are often more determined in the pursuit of their goals. And during the past seven years, we have been determined.
We identified a tremendous need in America: to elevate sports as an effective tool for addressing health and wellness among American youth. We have responded to that need by creating the most unique training in the nation that provides coaches with the methodology to inspire youth to achieve their potential. We have met some of the most forward-thinking donors who shared our vision that sports is not just some competitive recreational activity that is a given for most communities - i.e., “We Don’t Fund Sports” - but sports is a critical tool for helping children achieve life skills that lead to lifelong success. We have also recruited the most talented staff and coaches who have worked tirelessly to launch programs in low-income urban neighborhoods where parks and fields were previously abandoned.
I am determined that the next seven years see a massive expansion of our vision for youth sports. Specifically, we want to create a national workforce of coaches trained in sports-based youth development in every park, school and nonprofit in the nation. We want the Mayors of every major city to have a sports and recreation representative at the table the next time they discuss violence prevention, childhood health and wellness, juvenile justice and education reform. We want every foundation to remove “We Don’t Fund Sports” from their guidelines because they have seen, firsthand, our growing body of evidence that a trained coach vastly increases the likelihood that a child will acquire skills that contribute to their success.
Having said all that, in one very important way, I still feel lucky. Because somewhere during this seven-year journey, I met you and you helped me turn our vision into a reality.
Happy Seventh Anniversary, Up2Us Sports!