Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $2,000,000)
Up2Us Sports will conduct the Multi-State Sports Mentoring Project to increase the number of at-risk and high-risk youth engaging in mentoring activities in underserved urban communities in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia and Washington DC. Up2Us sports will partner with professional sports teams in these five states and the District of Colombia to implement its sports-based youth development model that will engage 135 mentors and 11,880 mentees. Sports-based youth development (SBYD) is a proven methodology that combines the best practices with mentoring and coaching to address violence prevention, academic engagement and social-emotional skill development.
The Multi-state Sports Mentoring Project will enable Up2Us Sports to provide sub-grants to community-based programs led in partnership with the Chicago Fire, Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, the Texas Rangers, Miami Marlins, and the Women’s National Football Conference. This project will be a first-of-its-kind effort to engage professional sports teams in delivering one consistent mentoring model across multiple geographies for the purpose of increasing academic participation, reducing negative behaviors (including juvenile delinquency), and fostering safer communities. The professional teams will: recruit mentors representing underserved Black and Brown urban communities; recruit and engage mentees in sports-based youth development activities two hours a day, five days a week; and collect date to analyze the program’s success in achieving youth development outcomes. SBYD Mentors will be recruited from the same communities they serve increasing their effectiveness as credible messengers of positive behavioral outcomes.
What makes the Multi-State Sports-Mentoring Project unique is the commitment of these professional sports teams to use their platforms, brands, athletes and social media presence to encourage mentoring in highly underserved areas in their respective geographies. While the objectives of this grant are to increase the number of mentors and mentees, the success of this multi-state initiative will have implications for engaging more professional sports teams in the future to advanced mentoring as a pathway to violence prevention, academic success, and overall quality of life for youth and their families.