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The State of Sport for Good Report

The State of Sport for Good Report

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We at Laureus USA believe, as our founding patron Nelson Mandela proclaimed, that “sport has the power to change the world.”

Today, many youth in the United States are considered at-risk. They are at risk of being incarcerated, being unemployed, being unhealthy physically as well as emotionally, being undereducated …the list goes on. But another, and perhaps more compelling, viewpoint is that society itself is at-risk; that is, at risk of losing this group of young people as they become more and more disillusioned with and alienated from the American dream. In addition to losing a potential valuable human resource, society will continue to accrue exorbitant social and financial costs born out of the loss.

In some respects, many of these kids do not have much else to lose. They live in unstable environments and face prejudice and intolerance from others. Many attend overcrowded or underfunded schools and are not receiving the attention they need from social services to overcome the challenges they face. Yet they are resilient and somehow endure under inadequate and unfair conditions. The intention of Laureus Sport for Good Foundation USA (Laureus USA) is to level the playing field for kids that find themselves in these unfortunate circumstances.

We recognize that it is easy to find oneself dispirited and frustrated with economic, political and social systems that seem short on compassion for youth and appear powerfully resistant to change. As an antidote, therefore, we at Laureus USA remind ourselves that small changes can make a difference and that the possibilities inherent in small victories lead to what our founding patron, Nelson Mandela, meant when he proclaimed that “Sport has the power the change the world.”

Encouragingly, youth sports has captured the attention of community leaders, educators, researchers and policy makers as a solution to the challenges that kids face today. Simply put, kids that participate in sports are more likely to make better decisions about their well-being and the well-being of others. Yet participation in youth sports continues to decrease.

So what might Laureus USA offer through this study? In this report, we share what we have learned about key players across the United States who are using sport to improve the lives of youth. Throughout this report, Laureus uses Sport for Good and sport for development to refer to organizations and programs using sport to improve the health, education, employment and social cohesion of youth. We identify the impact that sport for development organizations are currently having and highlight best practice across several streams of work. We also identify the needs of these organizations, many grassroots, who provide essential services for youth. Lastly, we provide insight into what the Sport for Good sector requires to grow and sustain its impact.

We are proud to present the findings of our survey on the sport for development landscape. Now that we better understand the current strengths and opportunities for the sector, we will direct our time, energy and resources to support quality sport for development programs in their delivery of sustainable programming for youth across the country. We are hopeful that more funders, researchers and policy makers will join us in this effort.

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Thursday, March 1, 2018 - 09:31