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2016 Gala Celebrates the Power of a Coach

2016 Gala Celebrates the Power of a Coach

At the fourth annual Up2Us Sports Gala, supporters, donors, athletes, coaches, and celebrities came together to celebrate the power of coaches to make a positive impact in kids' lives. Honoree Dr. David Colbert was presented with the Legacy Award and Philadelphia-based squash coach Tempest Bowden was presented with the Coach of the Year Award.

Coming Soon: Up2Us Gala 2014!

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Up2Us is having its second annual gala on Wednesday, May 14, 2014 at Mercedes-Benz Manhattan. This promises to be an inspiring evening, as we bring together our friends and supporters, as well as celebrities and athletes, to celebrate our achievements and the profound impact our coach-mentors have made on the lives of children across the country. Sienna Miller with Up2Us Board Member, Dr. David Colbert & Mark Colbert.

At this year’s event, we are proud to honor two committed supporters of Up2Us, Paul Tagliabue, former Commissioner of the National Football League, and Stephen Cannon, President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA.  With Paul’s help, Up2Us became a registered 501(c)(3) in 2010 and through Covington & Burling LLP, he continues to support Up2Us by providing pro-bono legal services.  Stephen, in his role as board chair for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation USA, financially supports our groundbreaking Coach Across America program, which impacts more than 50,000 youth across the country.  Up2Us is excited and pleased to be honoring them both at our second annual gala.

Up2Us hopes that you will join us for this very special evening.  We encourage you to join us by purchasing a table or tickets to see for yourself the great work we do.  If you have any questions, please call the Up2Us Benefit Office at 212.763.8599 or email up2us@cmevents.net.

We look forward to seeing you on May 14th.  Together, we can change the lives of youth across the country through the power of sports!

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Naomi Watts and Up2Us Board Member, Dr. David Colbert. Photo Credit: Patrick McMullan

Victoria's Secret Angel, Erin Heatherton. Photo Credit: Patrick McMullan

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Left to Right: Dr. David Colbert, Philip Seymour Hoffman & Paul Caccamo

Wynton Marsalis & Up2Us Honoree, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Photo Credit: Patrick McMullan

Up2Us Gala 2013

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Up2Us hosted its first gala this past June at Tribeca Rooftop in New York City. Over 350 guests celebrated and supported Up2Us’ mission to advance sports as the solution to the critical challenges facing America’s youth.

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Following cocktails, Sandra Bernhard opened the program by introducing Up2Us Founder & Executive Director Paul Caccamo who gave a touching speech on the power of sports to transform the lives of youth. Internationally acclaimed musician and composer Wynton Marsalis presented Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with the first ever Up2Us Legacy Award, recognizing the NBA hall of famer for his 20-plus years of contribution to sport, education, and humanitarian efforts. Following Kareem, NBA All-Star David Lee presented three Coach Across America coaches with the Coach of the Year award, recognizing them for their exceptional service and dedication to supporting at-risk youth.Cocktails were held on Tribeca's famed rooftop where guests were treated to 360 views of the Manhattan skyline and a red carpet, which included Naomi Watts, Sienna Miller, Erin Heatherton and other notable personalities. Emcee of the night, comedian Sandra Bernhard, rocked out on the red carpet with a guitar signed by Mick Jagger, which later sold for $15,000 at our live auction. Up2Us honoree and NBA Legend, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, also joined the red carpet walk, taking pictures with other athletes including Sean Avery, David Lee and Sarah Hughes.

Congratulations again to Ebonee Le'Triece from World Fit for Kids, Michel Tilapa from Beyond the Ball and Payne Schanski from Tenacity on their Coach of the Year award. Up2Us would like to thank everyone for their support in helping us get one step closer to our goal of placing 1,000 coaches nationwide by 2015. We look forward to seeing you all at our 2014 Gala!

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Victoria's Secret Angel, Erin Heatherton. Photo Credit: Patrick McMullan

Naomi Watts & Up2Us Board Member, Dr. David Colbert. Photo Credit: Patrick McMullan

Sienna Miller with Up2Us Board Member, Dr. David Colbert & Mark Colbert.

Left to Right: Up2Us Ambassador, Kim Vandenberg, Up2Us Founder Paul Caccamo & Up2Us Ambassador Sasha DiGiulian.

Left to Right: Up2Us Ambassador Kim Vandenberg, Up2Us Founder Paul Caccamo & Up2Us Ambassador Sasha DiGiulian.

Wynton Marsalis & Up2Us Honoree, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Photo Credit: Patrick McMullan

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Left to Right: Dr. David Colbert, Philip Seymour Hoffman & Paul Caccamo. Photo Credit: Patrick McMullan

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Up2Us Coach of the Year…

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Make that Connector of the Year! Up2Us is a national movement that is based on one very powerful word:  connections.

Far too many children drop out of school because they do not feel connected to their teachers or to other classmates. Far too many boys join gangs because they do not feel connected to society. Far too many girls find themselves as teenage mothers because they do not feel connected to adult role models.

Up2Us uses the unique power of sports to create connections.  Life affirming connections between kids and their coaches, kids and their teammates, and kids and the wider community.

Key to making these connections possible are our coaches who work everyday to give our youth this sense of belonging.   Properly trained coaches provide children the unique opportunity to develop their life skills in a nontraditional setting. For many kids in urban America who are isolated because of poverty, broken families and underserved communities, this coach may be the most critical connection of them all.

Tonight is the first ever Up2Us gala. It will be attended by celebrities, athletes, coaches and other stakeholders from across the country who believe in the Up2Us mission.  Every guest in attendance has one thing in common:  they achieved their success in life because of some connection that meant something to them and inspired them to be great. That's why the focus of this gala is to celebrate three special connectors, the Up2Us Coaches of the Year.

These Coach Across America coaches were chosen by kids and colleagues from their communities because of their impact on health, violence and academics.  Coach Ebonee from Los Angeles uses sports to connect at-risk kids to a lifelong love of exercise and physical activity.  Coach Michel from Chicago uses sports to connect gang members to positive peer groups who help them say to no violence.  Coach Payne from Boston uses sports to connect at-risk students in failing public schools to a renewed commitment to their education.

I have often written that Up2Us is the solution to the challenges of juvenile violence, school dropout rates, and childhood obesity. Up2Us is the solution because it is about the kinds of connections demonstrated by these amazing coaches. They deserve to be celebrated at a gala in New York with legendary figures like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wynton Marsalis, and Philip Seymour Hoffman in attendance.

They are the Connectors of the Year.

Paul Caccamo Executive Director