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Meet the 2016 Sports 4 Life Grantees

We are excited to introduce you to our new 2016 Sports 4 Life grantees. This year the Sports 4 Life program is serving an unprecedented 40 organizations with a commitment to increasing access to sport for girls of color in their communities. We welcome 35 new grantees to join five programs that have previously been awarded funding, including Boys & Girls Club of Pueblo County, Girls in the Game, The Charm City Youth Lacrosse League, Detroit PAL and Play Like A Girl!. These community programs demonstrate how this national support can be used to grow sports participation for girls who are underrepresented in athletics. We have awarded $194,250 in funding to these 40 organizations this year, which will serve an estimated more than 10,000 middle and high school students. Keep reading to meet the 2016 grant recipients.

Algonquin Sports for Kids, Inc.: Buffalo, N.Y.

Algonquin Sports for Kids collaborates with Soccer for Success and The First Tee of Western New York to give 6th grade girls the opportunity to experience soccer and golf. Within both programs, young women will receive coaching, skill training, and mentorship. The Sports 4 Life grant will allow Algonquin Sports for Kids to implement a pilot program for African-American and Hispanic girls and give an added push towards their goals of teaching both sports while practicing integrity, respect, perseverance, confidence and sportsmanship.

America SCORES Cleveland: Cleveland, Ohio

The mission of America SCORES Cleveland is to improve fitness, literacy, and social-emotional competencies of the girls they serve, ranging from ages 11 through 14. Their model blends four focus areas: soccer, creative writing, community engagement and character development. The Sports 4 Life funding will allow America SCORES to expand the 2016 summer soccer program to reach significantly more girls in the Cleveland area.

America SCORES New York: New York, N.Y.

America SCORES New York works diligently to increase self-esteem, build leadership skills, and foster personal and academic success within their female students ages 11 to 14. The program pairs 120 hours of soccer with 120 hours of writing during the four-day week. Our Sports 4 Life will help to provide a yearlong soccer coach and a yearlong writing coach for one team of West Harlem female students.

Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative (BAWSI): San Jose, Calif.

BAWSI Girls is a free, after-school program for girls that introduces sports, physical activity, personal leadership, and healthy living. Participants –11 and 14 year old girls – receive a pedometer and journal that allows them to track their fitness goals. The Sports 4 Life grant will help BAWSI expand the reach and impact of its program regionally and better serve the African-American and Hispanic community.

Beat the Streets Philadelphia Wrestling Program: Philadelphia, Pa.

Beat the Streets Philadelphia (BTSP) provides one of the only opportunities for young girls in the area to participate in sports. With PE classes being cut back or eliminated, Beat the Streets Philadelphia has 20 local programs that help fill a void for young athletes (ages 11 to 18) in the inner city. Sports 4 Life funding will allow BTSP to increase the number of participants, increase tournament competition opportunities, and improve participant retention for the following school year.

Beyond Soccer, Inc.: Lawrence, Mass.

Beyond Soccer, Inc. uses the sport of soccer to connect with a large Hispanic population and also integrates off the field support. Sports 4 Life funding will help program participants travel to practices and league games during the March- June season, and offer nutrition education. Beyond Soccer will also help its girls to identify scholarships and will launch a Sports Leadership Academy for female athletes from 11 to 18 years old.

Boston Showstoppers: Boston, Mass.

Boston Showstoppers is comprised of teams of 11 to 18 year old girls and offers four academic and basketball programs. The program has shown great success in increasing mathematics and English scores among its participants. With the Sports 4 Life grant, the Boston Showstoppers will build on its four existing programs and help to strengthen test, college and study preparation skills.

Boys & Girls Club of Newburgh: Newburgh, N.Y.

Lady Panthers Basketball is a developmental program at the Boys & Girls Club of Newburgh focused on increasing athletic and life skills for athletes in low-income communities. The program operates year round and girl participants commit to 85% attendance upon enrollment. The Lady Panthers Basketball program teaches girls conditioning skills, strength exercises and basketball specific developmental drills. Our Sports 4 Life funding will help the club to offer its clinics and allow for travel teams to participate in summer tournaments.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Pueblo County: Pueblo, Colo.

The Boys and Girls Club of Pueblo County offers a twelve week program called Girls Rock- Dropout Prevention through Sports, up to three times per year. Girls Rock gives girls the opportunity to play volleyball, soccer, and basketball. The Sports 4 Life grant will allow the Boys and Girls Club of Pueblo County to cover the expense of competitive league play and further engage young women following their graduation.

BRIDGE Lacrosse: Dallas, Texas

BRIDGE Lacrosse offers competitive sports programs annually, in the spring and fall, and gives girls an opportunity to play in end of season tournaments. With our Sports 4 Life funding, BRIDGE will invest in coach training and strategies to retain more girls of color in its programs. The grant will also help BRIDGE to expand its program into the North Texas area.

Campbell Junior Basketball Inc.: Powder Springs, Ga.

The Campbell Jr. Basketball Program welcomes all girls interested in competitive basketball who reside in the public school district and focuses on girls that have never participated in sports. Their demographic is over 90% African American. Our Sports 4 Life grant will help expand their sports program and better assist athletes that are transitioning from middle school to high school.

Coastal Outreach Soccer (COS): Brunswick, Ga.

The Our Time Program is Coastal Outreach Soccer’s effort to create an environment that gets girls involved in physical fitness, cultural enrichment, and empowered activities. The soccer sessions take place at three public housing complexes and one central located field. With the Sports 4 Life funding, COS plans to increase the number of participants and increase training for its coaching staff. COS also plans to increase parental involvement and improve academic performance and literacy skills for girls through its reading program.

Detroit PAL: Detroit, Mich.

The PAL Detroit Girls Initiative offers year round programming for youth in a variety of sports. The organization recently experienced 24% growth in programming for girls, so the Sports 4 Life funding will assist the Detroit PAL’s Girls Initiative in their expansion to reach even greater numbers of young African-American and Hispanic women.

Fort Smith Express Soccer Association: Fort Smith, Ark.

The Fort Smith Express Soccer Association is dedicated to providing youth with a safe place to play while teaching lessons both on and off of the field. The Growing Great Girls Program offers soccer programs to local girls, ages 11 through 18, and will have the opportunity to increase enrollment with the Sports 4 Life grant.

Girls Incorporated of Omaha: Omaha, Neb.

The Girls Inc. “Girls On the Move” program allows girls to try a wide variety of sports and physical activity. This year, Girls Inc. of Omaha will establish a competitive volleyball league. Our Sports 4 Life grant will allow the program to hire an experienced volleyball coach, purchase equipment, and provide transportation to games and tournaments.

Girls Incorporated of the Washington DC Metropolitan Area: Washington, D.C.

Girls Inc.’s D.C. HOOPS for Girls program is teaching African-American girls the tangible and intangible benefits of sports through basketball and athleticism. Presently summer-based, HOOPS for Girls meets for 6 weeks and culminates with a 3-on-3 basketball tournament finale. With our Sports 4 Life funding, HOOPS can expand their program reach and scope to operate for the full academic year.

Girls in the Game: Chicago, Ill.

Girls in the Game’s After School Program includes age-specific programming for elementary and middle school girls. In 2016, Girls in the Game will expand to provide programming at 40 different locations and will focus on a variety of sports, health and leadership topics during its 10-week session. The Sports 4 Life funding will aid in this expansion, allowing for Girls in the Game to reach more girls of color in the Chicago area.

Higher Ground Academy: St. Paul, Minn.

Somali Girls Rock, a program of the Higher Ground Academy, is designed to target East African and African girls who desire to learn different sports but struggle with cultural barriers. Somali Girls Rock was developed to create a space where these girls can participate in games, practices, scrimmages, and activities. A small group of volunteers with coaching certificates works to provide a safe environment for both athletes and parents. The Sports 4 Life funding will allow for transportation and facility rentals for the girls.

International Student Athlete Academy, Inc.: Philadelphia, Pa.

The International Student Athletic Academy will be an expansion of the existing ISAA Girls’ Developmental Basketball Academy. Athletes will be exposed to numerous techniques that aim to develop crucial athletic skills including intramural and tournament games. In addition to athleticism, ISAA will conduct tutoring in math and reading. The Sports 4 Life funding will allow this expansion by supporting equipment and coaching fees.

L.A.C.E.R. Afterschool Programs: Hollywood, Calif.

L.A.C.E.R Afterschool Programs, SportStars, consists of a wide variety of free organized sport activities. This program offers athletic classes five days a week where students work on development and demonstrate their skills in one on one drills and team play. In addition to tangible skills, L.A.C.E.R concludes with nutrition and healthy life choices discussions. With the Sports 4 Life funding, L.A.C.E.R will be able to accommodate additional girls for their competitive sports and dance teams.

Lakewood High School Girls Basketball Program: St. Petersburg, Fla.

Lakewood High plans to increase their reach in order to create a more successful team in the classroom, on the court, and in the community. Their mission is to provide each player with an opportunity to be a part of a positive atmosphere in order to encourage mental, social, and emotional growth. Lakewood High uses basketball as a way to develop assertive, competitive and self-sustaining young women. The Sports 4 Life funding will enable the program to assist the athletes whose parents are not able to financially support expenses such as uniforms, shoes, travel and tournaments.

Lost Boyz Inc.: Chicago, Ill.

Lost Boyz Inc. offers a fast-pitch program component as part of their MVP Baseball Program tailored for adolescent African-American girls. These programs are designed to teach young women about competitive play, cultural enrichment, and relationship building. Their goal is to use the platform of baseball to continue their engagement with violence prevention and development of vulnerable inner city youth. The Sports 4 Life funding will support the spring/summer and winter clinic programs and allow for a third girls team. The funding will cover expenses such as equipment, uniforms, league fees, insurance and transportation.

MACH Academy, Inc.: Martinez, Ga.

MACH Girls with Rackets is a new tennis project that will provided through MACH Academy, Inc. It will be provided at no cost in order to give everyone an equal opportunity to join. Tennis instructions, fitness sessions, and academic support sessions will be offered. The Sports 4 Life funding will support the goal of offering the program at no cost.

Netball America – ATL: Atlanta, Ga.

Netball America in Atlanta works to provide a safe and positive environment for their young athletes by focusing on anti-bullying and teamwork. At just 4 years old Netball America is still growing. With the Sports 4 Life funding, they plan to expand and further continue to serve African-American and Hispanic girls in high-risk, disadvantaged, and underserved populations.

Netball America – LA: Westminster, Calif.

The Netball America Los Angeles program uses physical fitness to incorporate key principles of leadership, self-esteem, confidence and perseverance. There is a strong need in the community for young African-American and Hispanic girls to have access and reap the benefits of physical activity. With the Sports 4 Life funding, Netball America Los Angeles can continue to grow and reach more of the largely African-American and Hispanic populated areas, as well as enable funding for coaches.

PHIT Foundation, Inc.: West Helena, Ark.

The Dance for Your LYFE (DFYL) program, sponsored by PHIT Foundation, transforms the lives of young women ages 11-18. Using a yearlong physically and mentally challenging dance program, DFYL exposes athletes to opportunities to integrate leadership skills and education into physical health. The Sports 4 Life grant will enable DFYL to purchase uniforms and program materials and help to achieve their goals of providing a safe environment, promote physical activity, increase self-esteem, and fight obesity.

Play Like A Girl!: Dallas, Texas

Eat. Move. Play! (EMP) Program is a multi- component after-school program under the umbrella of Play Like A Girl! with a primary focus on tennis, while also offering walking, running, dance, jump rope, soccer, volleyball, and yoga. Branching from the existing Play Like A Girl! Program, in addition to structured physical activity, EMP offers interactive nutrition seminars, food demonstrations, parent workshops, and newsletters. EMP is focused on the promotion of low-cost lifetime and lifestyle physical activities and comes at no cost to the school or students. The Sports 4 Life funding will allow for further enrollment of African American and Hispanic girls from economically disadvantaged communities.

Raritan Valley YMCA: East Brunswick, N.J.

With the help of the Sports 4 Life grant, the Raritan Valley YMCA will provide six weeks of instructional tennis lessons during a summer day camp for low-income Hispanic girls ranging from 11- 14 in age. This program will provide tennis, tutoring, and self-development along with the existing YMCA programs. It will also address lack of access to fee based opportunities and transportation.

Rockford Park District Foundation: Rockford, Ill.

Learn to Skate is a program offered by Rockford Park District Foundation designed to help young women with any ice sport on a recreational or competitive level. The curriculum was designed by U.S. Figure Skating and is publicly endorsed by USA Hockey, U.S. Speed Skating, and the Special Olympics. It has been designed to encourage African-American and Hispanic girls to be introduced to skating as a skill for life. The Sports 4 Life funding will help offer transportation from local community centers and eliminate accessibility as an obstacle.

Soccer in the Streets: Atlanta, Ga.

Soccer in the Streets has served the Sandy Springs community of Atlanta for a number of years. Now with the Sports 4 Life funding they will be adding specific programming for teenage girls for the first time. Primarily for Hispanic young women, Soccer in the Streets will take place twice a week and will allow young women to learn the sport and the valuable life skills associated with playing on a team. The funding will also assist in providing soccer equipment directly for the girls who need it most.

South Bronx United: Bronx, N.Y.

Located in New York, South Bronx United currently serves a largely African-American and Hispanic community. South Bronx schools have a staggered lack of athletic programming, especially for young women. With the Sports 4 Life funding, their new program will target high school girls at two tiers of involvement, focusing on athletic and academic advancements. This structure allows South Bronx United to reach an even larger number of girls in the area.

Sportsmen’s Tennis & Enrichment Center: Dorchester, Mass.

HEY Sister is a free tennis and life skill program, offered at Sportsmen’s Tennis & Enrichment Center, that reaches young women through tennis. With ages ranging from 11 to 18, HEY Sister offers a place to explore issues in the girls’ lives, build self-advocacy skills and relations with peers, all while learning to compete in the world of tennis. Sportsmen’s Tennis plans to use the Sports 4 Life funding to expand their number of girls and to enhance the level of tennis instruction.

STARLINGS: Baltimore, Md.

Over an eight-month period, Starlings Volleyball meets three days a week. The only club volleyball team in Baltimore City that services young ladies from lower socioeconomic areas, their goals include making sure participants graduate and improve their volleyball skills and terminology to prepare them for the collegiate level. The Sports 4 Life funding will help the Baltimore Starlings open up more slots, allow for more tournaments, and provide transportation.

Street Soccer USA: Chicago, Ill.

Already a well-established and successful program within New York City, Street Soccer USA is proposing to expand and offer a year round soccer academy for girls and young women ages 11-18 in the Humboldt Park, Chicago area. The Street Soccer USA Girls Soccer Academy engages in disadvantaged youth through their unique curriculum that connects soccer skills with essential life skills. The Sports 4 Life funding will help to hire female coaching staff to deliver soccer and life skills. It will also cover the costs of healthy snacks and player kits.

The Charm City Youth Lacrosse League: Baltimore, Md.

The Charm City Youth Lacrosse League is a program provided to youth in the Baltimore area. For no cost to the family, Charm City offers girls a way to get much needed exercise throughout the year. The Charm City Youth Lacrosse program is looking to expand their program to address the lack of organized team sports in the Baltimore inner-city neighborhoods. The Sports 4 Life funding will allow for this expansion while keeping the program at no cost to the young women and their families.

The First Tee Baltimore: Baltimore, Md.

With already a large number of participants, The First Tee Baltimore is working to expand with their Grasp Girls with Golf program. The Grasp Girls with Golf program is fully run by a 15-year-old sophomore in High School, who herself started with The First Tee Baltimore. She wanted to create a more robust weekly program for young females. Working directly with two PGA professionals, she works to deliver high quality instruction, nutritional education seminars, speaker series, caddying opportunities, and fitness instruction. The Sports 4 Life funding will help to increase the number of girls involved in the program.

TrailsforYouth.Org: Springfield, Va. (TYO) provides a pathway of programs for under-served low income Hispanic kids to learn and engage in outdoor recreation. TYO offers weekly after school clubs that teach hiking, running, biking, and kayaking. From there, they provide the chance to compete on the mountain bike race team. This pathway provides hundreds of hours of physical activity and mentoring on healthy lifestyles. With the Sports 4 Life funding, TYO will expand the mountain biking team to more Hispanic girls.

Vista Maria: Dearborn Heights, Mich.

Founded over 130 years ago, Vista Maria is now one of Michigan’s oldest and largest treatment agencies for girls suffering from abuse, neglect, and trauma. As of now, they offer free play that includes courtyard volleyball and basketball. The Sports 4 Life grant will expand current recreational opportunities and help Vista Maria reach their goal of offering structured team sports, such as basketball, soccer, volleyball and swimming.

YMCA of Greater San Antonio: San Antonio, Texas

With hundreds of girls in their program, the YMCA of San Antonio is committed to teaching girls teamwork, respect, stress management, goal setting, and other crucial life skills through sport. The Sports 4 Life funding will help provide the YMCA of Greater San Antonio with equipment necessary to implement girls volleyball at the Davis-Scott and Westside YMCA that will primarily serve girls of low income, underprivileged and under-served families. Ultimately, they have set a continued goal to provide a safe place for these girls to discover their potential, personal development, leadership, and positive self-esteem.

Youth Enrichment Services, Inc.: Pittsburgh, Pa.

The Sister Circle-IMAGE (SC-I) program provides physical activity and health education within the Youth Enrichment Services (YES). YES works in partnership with the Westinghouse High School in a low socioeconomic, high crime area of Homewood, Pittsburgh. With funding by the Sports 4 Life grant, the female athletes of YES will have access to SC-I curriculum and basketball or indoor track training. With extra resources, YES will have the ability to implement additional programs for girls.

Meet Our 2015 Grantees >>