Boston – A new program named CHAMPS—Coaches Helping Athletes through Mentoring and Positive Sports—was launched today by the Boston Foundation with special support from Celtics star Paul Pierce, who lent his star power to the announcement event. The announcement was made at The Sports Museum of New England at TD Garden.
CHAMPS is a sports-based youth development initiative focused on out-of-school time seeking to ensure that every young person in Boston has access to high-quality athletic opportunities and that all youth coaches are trained to make the most of their work with the city’s young people. The program aims to strengthen existing out-of-school sports programs and help create new programs where they don’t now exist, as well as to strengthen the ability of neighborhood coaches to serve as leaders and mentors for young people.
“Boston is blessed with a great network of athletic programs and out-of-school opportunities for young people, but we know it can be so much better,” said Paul S. Grogan, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation. “The idea behind this initiative is to leverage our current programs, provide specialized training to coaches across the city, and strengthen the role coaches can play in the lives of young people. This is about providing skilled, focused, caring leadership to boys and girls who can most benefit from effective mentoring. Our goal is to make Boston a national leader in youth sports.”
CHAMPS will next be introduced in additional neighborhoods beginning with Dorchester through several partners, including the All Dorchester Sports League, as well as the Boston Centers for Youth and Families. Institutional training will expand. Already, Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston coaches have been trained. The roll out will include coaches at YMCA locations. A focus will be on training coaches with Pop Warner football including both football and cheerleading coaches.
The program was piloted last year in East Boston, and scored an overwhelming hit with volunteer athletic leaders. A total of 600 coaches received the training, including 95 percent of all Boston Neighborhood Baseball League coaches, as well as coaches in Little League and Soft Ball League and in the Boston Neighborhood Basketball League, through Boston Centers for Youth and Families.
“One important fact about the program: fully 100 percent of coaches who have received the training report that it was a significant help to them,” said Robert Lewis Jr., Vice President for Program at the Boston Foundation. “The overwhelming majority of coaches who were training in the pilot of CHAMPS—more than 90 percent—requested more training.”
In addition to the training, CHAMPS will provide some financial support for high-quality uniforms and sports equipment, and to refurbish neighborhood playing fields that makes it possible to expand the capacity of current athletic programs.
“This program has added power for me because I coach young people in Boston,” said Grogan. “And my own sons have had coaches who meant a lot to them. This program is, in part, a tribute to the impact a trained coach can have in the lives of young people.”
The Boston Foundation, Greater Boston’s community foundation, is one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the nation, with assets of $695 million. In Fiscal Year 2009, the Foundation and its donors made $86 million in grants to nonprofit organizations and received gifts of over $72 million. The Foundation is made up of some 900 separate charitable funds established by donors either for the general benefit of the community or for special purposes. The Boston Foundation also serves as a major civic leader, provider of information, convener, and sponsor of special initiatives designed to address the community’s and region’s most pressing challenges. For more information about the Boston Foundation, visit www.tbf.org or call 617-338-1700.