Philadelphia: From Barriers to Belief

This past week Rob Marcus, founder of our Racial Equity and Access in Youth Sports Task Force, traveled to Philadelphia and made a very special first contact with the Philadelphia Youth Sports Collaborative, who hosted us for the day. This journey has always been about gaining insights just as much as it has been about sharing them and the opportunity to meet with an organization like The Collaborative, which has already done much to pioneer this collective partnership approach serving over 65,000 youth in Philadelphia, was an exciting opportunity.
Executive Director Beth Devine and Director of External Relations Mike Barsotti were gracious enough to invite us to spend the day with them and meet with members of The Collaborative who provided their perspective on the barriers to sports equity in Philadelphia, how they are tackling them, and the value of being a part of The Collaborative. Specifically, the role the organization plays in lifting them up by convening a collective of like-minded providers together around shared learning and supporting their work with resources, growth opportunities, and advocacy.

Valencia “Coach V” Peterson, member of The Collaborative and Founder & CEO of ODAAP (Open Door Abuse Awareness & Prevention), provides a unique insight into her organization’s mission, how equity challenges affect access to violence prevention efforts through sports, and how by recently coming together with other local leaders and organizations in The Collaborative, she is working to overcome these barriers.

Eric Worley, Co-founder & Program Director of Philadelphia Youth Basketball, and member of The Collaborative, discusses the rich basketball tradition of his organization and the role it plays in building his kids as students, athletes, and positive leaders in the community. While some of the barriers have historically pertained to systemic issues like lack of access to out-of-school programs and recreation centers, his organization, Philadelphia Youth Basketball, and The Collaborative, are educating city leaders on the principles of sports-based youth development and making great strides in growing their support.

Positive Coaching Alliance and Coaching Corps are joining forces to become a powerhouse organization dedicated to optimizing the positive impact of youth coaches on kids. Because when every child has access to a game-changing coach trained in youth development, s/he is able to gain life skills through sport, build healthy habits, and become beacons for positive change in their communities.

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