As part of the #ThanksCoach campaign, we spoke to Chicago Training Center (CTC) Executive Director Ashley Mayer as well as with coaches Curtis Miranda and Chey Correa, a pair of former CTC participants who now serve as Up2Us Coaches for the program.
On May 3rd, Up2Us teamed up with the Chicago Park District, the Chicago Housing Authority and the White Sox Volunteer Corps for a community wellness day at Wentworth Gardens. The day was designed to encourage health, wellness and fitness, and included multiple stations designed and activated by our Chicago coaching corp.
The Chicago White Sox not only sent awesome volunteers to help with registration and food service for the day but South Paw, the team mascot, joined to take pictures and toss some pitches at the baseball station. Every person that attended the event and participated in different stations also received a complimentary voucher to an upcoming White Sox game. We had nearly 300 participants throughout the event day and were able to spread health and wellness and make some incredible new partners.
A special thanks to Alderman Pat Dowell, The Athena Dental Group, Progressive Baptist Church, UIC-Chicago Partnership for Health Promotion, UIC-YWLCS Health & Wellness Center, E&ES (a partner of the Chicago Housing Authority), and Beggars Pizza who were all important partners in making the day a success.
"The Up2Us Field Day is a great example of how neighbors and community based organizations can work together to create safe and healthy spaces for everyone to enjoy. I am pleased to be a part of this event because it celebrates the wonderful families that make up this community,” said Alderman Pat Dowell.
This past week, Mercedes-Benz USA, in partnership with the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, announced a $1.15 million gift to the Up2Us Coach Across America program. The announcement was made in Chicago with celebrity athletes and Laureus World Sport Academy Members, Edwin Moses and Marcus Allen, in attendance. The funding will sponsor 250 coaches in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and New Orleans. There's something very special about this donation: it came from an automobile company. That's right, an automobile company whose business is not obviously tied to fighting childhood obesity or promoting health outcomes. But Mercedes Benz USA demonstrates that maybe it's business is, in fact, tied to the wellbeing of the next generation of Americans. Maybe all our business is tied to this one single outcome.
You don't need an Italian mother like mine to remind you that "if you have your health, you have everything". Yet, we continue to ignore the worsening situation in which an estimated 25 million children will watch their health erode because of poor diets and a lack of opportunities to engage in regular physical activity. Without their health, this generation will face countless other challenges, that include low worker productivity, low quality of life, low civic engagement and even increased depression. Is this really the future of America?
The 250 Coach Across America coaches will be equipped with the tools to use sports to teach nutrition and wellness and to inspire physical activity for more than 40,000 at-risk youth. This is just the start for this program, which challenges every person to use their love of sports to spend a year in service to kids who need them.
If our nation has its health, it has everything.
At a time in which we face numerous challenges, let's keep this in the forefront of our minds.
Paul Caccamo Executive Director