Afterschool sports programs
The Laureus Sport for Good Foundation USA and Mercedes-Benz USA national collaboration to support afterschool sports programs throughout the country continued with a launch in Miami at Gwen Cherry Park. The program is aimed at engaging underserved youth in the Greater Miami area and tackling issues such as youth violence and childhood obesity.
The Laureus Sport for Good Foundation USA, a charitable organization that supports projects across the nation to improve the lives of youth through the power of sports, in collaboration with Mercedes-Benz USA, the company and its dealers, announced their support of Coach Across America in the Greater Miami area. Laureus World Sports Academy Member Gary Player – the most successful international golfer of all time – addressed the community kids and coaches at the kick-off event at Gwen Cherry Park.
The initiative in Miami – a new market for Coach Across America made possible by the collaboration and generous support of Laureus USA and MBUSA – will train and place 24 Coach Across America coaches in 12 after-school sports programs, benefitting 3,000 underserved youth in 15 communities within the Greater Miami area, including Hialeah, Liberty City, Little Havana, North Miami, Overtown, South Dade and South Miami Heights. Initially, coaches will be placed in programs at the following projects: Quality United Education, Dade Lacrosse, Touching Miami with Love, Hope for Miami and Miami-Dade Parks and Recreation.
“We believe in the transformational power of sport as a tool for social good. Today’s coaches go beyond the traditional sense of the term ‘coach,’” said Laureus World Sports Academy Chairman Dr. Edwin Moses. “It is important for an area such as Miami to have quality coaches serving these kids. They are mentors, community organizers and mediators. Investing in proper training and offering support for these coaches is vital to sports-based youth development, especially as youth violence and obesity escalate and school-based programs continue to be decimated by budget cuts. Initiatives like this are essential in America to fill the gap.”
The kick-off is part of a nationwide program that, with a $1.3-million national commitment from MBUSA to Laureus USA, focuses on training and placing 250 coaches through Coach Across America in sports-based youth development projects in underserved neighborhoods in five U.S. cities: Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Miami and New Orleans.
“Mercedes-Benz USA and our dealer partners have a long tradition of supporting and giving back to our communities,” said Steve Cannon, president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA. “When you combine that with MBUSA’s extensive involvement in high-profile sports events, this is an undertaking that really makes sense for us and provides a real benefit to youth across the country.”
Youth violence and childhood obesity are serious issues in the region. As recently as Sept. 8, three people were shot during a youth football game at the recently-reopened Gibson Park in Overtown. And, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 12 percent of Miami-Dade County’s high school students attend daily physical education classes at school (which is much lower than the state rate of 44 percent).