Four UI Schools Show Laureus, Coach Across America, and Mercedes-Benz USA What Sports Based Youth Development Is All About

_MG_7249.jpgOn April 10th and 11th Urban Initiatives partnered with Coach Across America to help launch an initiative in which Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) will commit $1.3 million dollars in 2012 to the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation USA to fund and place 250 coaches in five U.S cities, approximately 40 of which will be in Chicago. These coaches will be trained and placed in various sports-based youth development projects in underserved neighborhoods by Coach Across America. These coaches will provide mentorship to 40,000 youth across 125 local communities, much like the three Coach Across America Coaches already with Urban Initiatives.

The 10th and 11th began this collaboration with Laureus World Sports Academy Members Dr. Edwin Moses, a two time Olympic gold medalist, and Marcus Allen, Hall of Fame running back for the Los Angeles Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs, addressing Mercedes-Benz corporate volunteers who would be traveling to various sites to experience first-hand what the programs are like that have received coaches through this initiative. The volunteers were also addressed by James Kallusky, Executive Director of Coach Across America, and Urban Initiatives’ own Coach Travis.

After the volunteers were briefed on the importance of sports-based youth development and the impact that their investment in coaches and youth would have, they loaded up on buses and headed out to the different sites, one of which being the Chicago Indoor Sports Center on 39th and Ashland with Urban Initiatives.

Each day at the Indoor Center, a different group of Mercedes volunteers got the chance to try their hand at coaching and refing 6 different soccer games with four of our UI soccer teams, Nobel, Daley, Libby and Walsh. The volunteers were absolutely amazing coaches and they even got to show off their skills as players! They made sure our kids knew how great they were and our kids absolutely adored them. And the brand Mercedes-Benz wasn’t lost on our kids. Their ears visibly pricked up when we told them where the volunteers were from, mostly because they thought they might get a car. They weren’t disappointed however when all was said and done and there were no shiny new cars. They were more than pleased with the excellent coaching and teamwork the Mercedes volunteers displayed for them, and they topped it all off with Nike gift bags with sports gear and granola bars!

Anytime we’re privileged to have our youth engaged by teams of volunteers its a very special day. And though we’ve come to expect it, we are greatly appreciative and impressed when we see our volunteers display such compassion and affection as the Mercedes volunteers did over the two days. We can’t say thank you enough to everyone who worked so hard to bring this experience to our kids and just as importantly, take such a major step in supporting the movement of enriching the lives of youth through sports based youth development. We would like to thank the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation USA, Coach Across America, and Mercedes-Benz USA for continuing their amazing work in acknowledging the needs in communities and doing their part to build a better world for us all. We are so grateful to have been involved in this wonderful event and we are so lucky to work with such amazing partners. We look forward to all the great developments to come from the collective passion of everyone involved.

Other sports based youth development projects and programs include: Beyond the Ball, America SCORES Chicago, MetroSquash, Girls in the Game, After-School All-Stars Chicago, Chicago Youth Boxing Club, Triple Threat and Near West Side CDC.

About Laureus USA
Laureus Sport for Good Foundation USA (www.laureususa.com) is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit in the United States and a national foundation of Laureus, which comprises the global Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, the Laureus World Sports Academy, and the Laureus World Sports Awards. Collectively, these three elements form the essence of Laureus, harnessing the power of sport to promote social change and celebrating sporting excellence. Laureus celebrates the universal power of sport to bring people together as a force for good, passionately embodying the very spirit of sport – the pursuit of excellence, overcoming challenges, celebrating achievement and excellence, and winning against the odds.

About Coach Across America
Coach Across America® (CAA; www.up2us.org) is the flagship program of Up2Us launched to provide its member organizations with the support needed to train and host highly effective coaches in sports and youth development. CAA’s mission is to lead the United States in training and supporting expert sports-based youth development coaches in the nation’s most under-resourced communities to promote health and nutrition, educational success, civic engagement, and positive personal and social development among youth.

About Mercedes-Benz USA
Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA), headquartered in Montvale, New Jersey, is responsible for the distribution, marketing and customer service for all Mercedes-Benz and Maybach products in the United States. MBUSA offers drivers the most diverse line-up in the luxury segment with 14 model lines ranging from the sporty C-Class to the flagship S-Class sedans and the SLS AMG supercar.

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