Thousands of kids, coaches celebrate positive youth development through sports at Fenway Park

“Cheers for CHAMPS” honors volunteer coaches and kids with afternoon at Fenway featuring local athletes, professional coaches and media

June 7, 2012


Bobby V launcg slideshow

 Click to view a slideshow of the Cheers for CHAMPS event.




Boston – What do you get when you bring together two thousand young athletes from across Massachusetts, star professional athletes, some of the region’s best coaches, local media stars and give them a chance to play in the city’s storied Fenway Park?

A night the kids will never forget.

On Monday, June 4th, the Boston Foundation’s CHAMPS (Coaches Helping Athletes through Mentoring and Positive Sports) Boston program welcomed thousands of kids to Fenway Park for an afternoon of exercise, entertainment and exciting opportunities at the first-ever “Cheers for CHAMPS” celebration.

From its start as a pilot program in 2009, CHAMPS Boston has grown to provide training to 2,500 coaches across Greater Boston in youth development and positive coaching techniques. CHAMPS has also helped secure tens of thousands of dollars in updated athletic equipment, field and site improvements. Monday’s event brought together more than 2,000 young people and their coaches for a special afternoon celebrating the importance of physical activity and healthy development through sports.

“The CHAMPS program is connecting with coaches and athletes with a message that sports is about far more than the scoreboard,” said Robert Lewis, Jr.. Vice President of Program for the Boston Foundation. “This event is a great opportunity to highlight the impact coaches can have on their teams, and the life lessons some of the best-known sports celebrities have learned from positive coaching.”

This year – CHAMPS is partnering with Paul Pierce of the Boston Celtics and his Truth on Health Initiative in the Million Hour Challenge, a challenge to get thousands of Boston-area children to do more than a million collective hours of exercise in a year. The children are already more than halfway to that goal.

The Fenway Park event featured a PlayZone with interactive play stations in the Fenway Park concourse, run by Playworks and local athletes including Matt Reis and Ryan Guy of the New England Revolution, Boston Celtics legend Cedric Maxwell, Max Lane of the New England Patriots, Ron Burton, Jr. of the Boston Red Sox. Leslie Osborne and other members of the Boston Breakers and Kevin Barney of the Boston Cannons. Wally the Green Monster, Blades the Bruin and Slyde, mascot for the New England Revolution, also joined in the fun!

Playworks currently provides positive physical activity to more than 30 schools in Boston and Revere, Mass. A recent study found Playworks recess and play-based programs at schools in five cities reduced bullying, improved in-class behavior, and fostered a more positive school climate.

CHAMPS coaches had their chance to learn from the best, too, with special “coaches huddle” sessions with Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine, “Boston College hockey coaching legend Jerry York, new Boston College women’s basketball coach Erik Johnson, and B.C. women’s hockey coach Katie King Crowley.

And kids got a chance to experience life in the spotlight in the ‘Media Reporter Roundup’ with Jackie MacMullan (ESPN), Tom Caron and Jayme Parker (NESN), Tom E. Curran (Comcast SportsNet New England), Susan Wornick (WCVB), Chet Curtis and Ally Donnelly (NECN), Dan Hausle (WHDH), Paul Burton (WBZ) and Damon Amendolara (98.5 The Sports Hub) among the expected reporters.

Kids also had a chance to pose with the Boston Red Sox World Series trophies, and receive free snacks and t-shirts as a part of the event.

PlayZone powered by Playworks
“Coaches Huddle” with Bobby Valentine, other local coaching legends
Kids meet and shoot on-camera interviews with local sports reporters,
And pose with the Red Sox World Series trophies

Speaking program featured:
Bobby Valentine, Manager, Boston Red Sox
Coach Willie Maye of the Boston Celtics
Robert Lewis, Jr., Vice President of Program for the Boston Foundation
Paul Grogan, President and CEO, Boston Foundation
Jackie MacMullan, ESPN Boston
Jerry York, Head Coach, Boston College Men’s Hockey
Matt Reis, New England Revolution
Leslie Osborne, Boston Breakers



About the Boston Foundation:

The Boston Foundation, Greater Boston’s community foundation, is one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the nation, with net assets of $850 million. In 2011, the Foundation and its donors made almost $78 million in grants to nonprofit organizations and received gifts of $81 million. The Foundation is made up of some 850 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. In 2012, the Boston Foundation andThe Philanthropic Initiative (TPI) merged, with TPI operating as a distinct unit of the Boston Foundation. TPI pioneered the field of strategic philanthropic advising over 20 years ago and remains a national leader today. Through its consulting services and its work to advance the broader field of strategic philanthropy, TPI has influenced billions of dollars of giving worldwide. TPI’s Center for Global Philanthropy promotes international giving from the U.S. and indigenous philanthropy abroad.

For more information about the Boston Foundation and TPI, visit or call 617-338-1700.

About CHAMPS Boston:

Focusing on out-of-school time programming for young people,CHAMPS Boston, a “youth development through sports” initiative of the Boston Foundation, trains coaches, provides sports equipment and uniforms, refurbishes fields and other sports facilities and invests in youth sports programs throughout the city. Launched in 2009 as a pilot program, CHAMPS has already trained 2,500 coaches in the power of mentoring and positive sports, connecting with donzens of leagues and more than 70,000 young athletes in Greater Boston. The initiative continues to expand its reach to more young athletes, teams, and even entire leagues – from baseball and softball to basketball, football, soccer and other sports.