A new campaign rooted in physical fitness and education has made its way to the city.
On Wednesday, January 24, Laureus USA and Nike’s Sport for Good NYC launched the good news with a kick off event at the University Heights High School on St. Ann’s Avenue.
The S4G campaign is a long-term commitment to improving the lives of underserved youth in NYC through the power of sport, according to a statement released by Laureus USA.
In a culmination of nonprofit leaders, resources and local collaboration, the campaign wants to help more kids have access to high quality, youth-centered sports programs.
The location for the event was chosen based on existing programming in the school with Laureus’ and Nike’s local partner and one of their borough grantees, I Challenge Myself.
“To me, it’s amazing,” said Ana Reyes, the founder and executive director of I Challenge Myself, who said her organization started because of the lack of physical education opportunities in schools.
The Bronx is regarded as one of the areas with the highest rates of obesity and diabetes, particularly in the south Bronx.
“We really wanted to show how the work of these non profits comes to life with real people in a real community,” said Caitlin Morris, general manager of Nike Global Community Impact, explaining the reason for launching the event in the Bronx at one of I Challenge Myself’s school program.
“There is nothing like talking directly to your audience and these kids are so inspiring,” she added.
Some of the other activities I Challenge Myself had for students, that the S4G campaign will be helping fund, are college bike tours, which cross fitness to promote self challenges.
“Our mantra is ‘sport has the power to change the world,’ but I want them to know that sport has the power to change their lives,” said Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, CEO of Laureus USA and Olympic Gold Medalist in Track and Field.
During the event, students interacted with the organizers of the S4G campaigns.
“We get the chance to have an hour where we participate with our friends and have some fun,” said high school Junior, Jailyn Correa.
“I got started, in a program just like this, run by people who cared and we looked up to,” said Edwin Moses, Olympic Gold Medalist in Track and Field and chairman of Laureus Sport For Good Foundation USA, reflecting on his own childhood experience.
“We want to try to help kids become the best they can, not because of sports, but because of being good sportsmen. It’s to teach them skills they’ll need through life.”
Along with I Challenge Myself, Laureus and Nike’s second borough partner and grantee, South Bronx United, was also present during the event launch.
South Bronx United’s program, which combines youth soccer with off-the-field programs like academic enrichment, college preparation, leadership and legal services, are the reason they were selected to participate.
“There’s a huge need for out-of-school opportunities because [some of the kids] just need someone to talk to and keep them on the right path,” said Andrew So, executive director of South Bronx United. “They often just need somewhere to be - in a safe and positive environment.”