Sports are being used by non-profit groups to support young people and communities and avoid violence.
Today, Laureus gave grants of $200,000 to 41 groups in Illinois that use sport as a means of promoting youth development and preventing violence. Each of the groups provides programs in R3 Zones, which are the areas of the state with the highest recorded rates of violence and child poverty.
More than 15,000 children will have access to supportive, inclusive, and safe youth sports programs thanks to this program, which is the first of its type in Illinois.
Since research shows that playing sports has lasting cognitive and emotional benefits on a child's life, such as higher levels of academic achievement and decreased rates of anxiety and depression, these programs will be crucial in stopping youth violence and helping young people develop essential life skills. More than 500 coaches will also receive training in trauma-informed care and positive youth development.
This support is essential for breaking down barriers and boosting equity in youth sports since it will pay for costs like athlete registration and equipment fees, staff salaries, and site modifications. Additionally, by rewarding organizations that prioritize inclusion, coach development, and social-emotional learning—all of which create protective factors in preventing youth violence as defined by the CDC. —these funds are changing the culture of youth sports.
Ben Schornack, the Director of Sport for Good Chicago for Laureus USA, stated that "community sports organizations have functioned as interrupters of violence, suppliers of safety & security, and beacons of togetherness and inclusion throughout Illinois for decades." "With this support, the organizations’ crucial contribution to tackling the intricate problems of public safety and violence is acknowledged and strengthened. We are grateful to Sport for Good Chicago's partners and members for their contributions in making this government financing a reality via clever planning and years of coordinated effort."
This funding was made possible by s Comeback Campaign, a coordinated initiative run by Laureus USA and more than 85 neighborhood organizations (as a part of the Sport for Good Chicago coalition), urging legislative stakeholders to give sustained funding for youth sports development programs top priority as they work toward a just post-pandemic recovery. Additional assistance from IMC Charities, Gatorade, and Chicago Cubs Charities helped to strengthen these initiatives. The major sponsors of the legislative allocation included Senator Robert Peters, Representatives Aaron Ortiz, Will Guzzardi, and Kelly Cassidy, as well as Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas and Representative Kam Buckner. Through the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, these funds are being distributed.
"Sport has proven to be a potent tool for fostering young people's growth and development. The Illinois Latino Caucus was proud to support this initiative as part of 25M invested into our communities throughout the State to combat violence and make sure that every child has the resources that they deserve," said Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas. "Organized physical activity and play can help young people heal from traumatic experiences, build important caring adult & peer relationships, and build skills that are transferrable to other parts of their lives.”
"Sport was a big part of how I got to where I am now. I developed relationships that have lasted to this day while playing football, and I learned how to handle everything life could throw at me,” said Representative Kam Buckner.
The Illinois Black Caucus was pleased to support this effort to ensure that black and brown youth across the state may enjoy sports in the same way that I did as a child.
Concerning Laureus Sport for Good USA
Through the power of sport, the non-profit organization Laureus seeks to better the lives of children and bring communities together. Over one million young people's lives have been impacted since 2012 as a result of our $20 million investment in youth development organizations based on sports across the nation. These organizations use sports to improve physical and mental health, educational and employment outcomes, and important social justice issues. The global Laureus network, which consists of the Laureus World Sports Academy (and Ambassadors), the Laureus World Sports Awards, one Global Foundation, and seven National Laureus Sport for Good Foundations, includes Laureus USA as a member. Visit www.LaureusUSA.com for more information about Sport for Good.
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