“Creating the Complete Student-Athlete.”
As a society, wisdom and experience has taught us to view education as the great equalizer. To succeed as individuals and as a nation in an ever-changing and highly-technical world, we believe all youth should aspire to obtaining a college degree. Most people have seen or experienced first-hand that the “one size fits all” approach to success is resulting in far too many youth falling between the cracks, with the majority being youth of all ethnic backgrounds of low socio-economic status.
Positive youth development theorists speak about the value of providing youth a voice. We believe that it is equally important to provide them choice. For youth who have access to fewer resources, fewer engaged adults in their lives and less confidence in their capacity to positively influence their environment, the introduction of choice can have a powerful and positive impact on both engagement and retention. The chances of increasing retention and achievement among high school and college students are significantly improved by individual relationships with caring adults who have great expectations and high standards, a sense of membership and positive peer culture and an opportunity to develop academic and athletic skills. Success also depends on attention to the time youth are not in school and recognition of the important role that community-based organizations play in creating a sense of connectedness for them and their families by offering structure for and interest in, their athletic and academic success.
Accordingly, we have designed and implemented program strategies that ensure equal access to post- secondary achievement that will increase the number of socio-economically disadvantaged youth enter and flourish in college. We support the creation of alternative learning environments that offer early exposure to the world of work, that combine academic support, and those that bridge secondary and post-secondary educational systems. By expanding the landscape of substantive and rewarding options available to our community’s youth, they will be better equipped with the skills and experience to make informed choices about their future.
The scope of this Plan is ambitious and broad. As with any planning document, the strategies and actions that have been set out to accomplish our organization’s goals will require constant monitoring and revisions. Revisions will be based on objective and comprehensive assessment of progress and participant needs. This Plan is much more complex than a traditional organizational strategic plan, as we are attempting to provide programming at a level of service like no other; focusing both on academic enrichment and athletic skill development which will positively impact on our entire community. The vision is compelling and the stakes are high. Our young people and our community members deserve nothing less.