Algonquin Sports for Kids, working in collaboration with the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County and the Independent Health Foundation, has been named the recipient of a two year Social Innovation Fund sub-grant from the U.S. Soccer Foundation.
The grant awards $300,000.00 a year, with a possible extension for an additional three years. The money will be used to fund the implementation of a Soccer for Success program here in Buffalo. Soccer for Success is the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s after-school, sports-based youth development program that uses soccer as a tool to combat childhood obesity and provides nutrition education and mentorship to children in at-risk communities.
The collaboration among Algonquin Sports for Kids, the United Way, and the Independent Health Foundation was one of 13 successful applications from across the country, and the only one in New York State, to receive this grant and was chosen based on the past successes of the three organizations involved in using physical activity to promote health and wellness in the children who participate in their programming. The US Soccer Foundation believes that Algonquin Sports, the United Way, and the Independent Health Foundation will be able to deliver an excellent Soccer for Success program to the children of WNY.
Members of the team from the United Way, the Independent Health Foundation, and Algonquin Sports for Kids pose with Otis Barker, Deputy Commissioner of Community Services for the City of Buffalo, and children from School 54, the Dr. George E. Blackman School of Excellence, at the press conference announcing the grant award on May 2, 2012.
The staff of Buffalo Soccer Club, the pilot program of Algonquin Sports for Kids, will be responsible for the day-to-day planning and execution of the Soccer for Success curriculum at 10 - 14 schools within the Buffalo Public School system, working with 1,000 children in grades 3 – 5. The program will run after-school during the 2012-2013 school year, beginning in September.
“Algonquin Sports for Kids and Buffalo Soccer Club are excited to collaborate with the Independent Health Foundation and the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County to bring such a influential program to the Buffalo community,” says Buffalo Soccer Club Program Director, Anna-Lesa Calvert. “Sports can play an integral role in a child’s development when they are used as a tool to teach important life skills. Buffalo Soccer Club looks forward to implementing the Soccer for Success program and its proven curriculum to students in the Buffalo Public Schools.”
In August 2011, the U.S. Soccer Foundation received a grant from the prestigious 2011 Social Innovation Fund, on behalf of the Corporation for National and Community Service, to support programs that promote healthy lifestyles and reduce obesity rates for children in urban, underserved communities. The U.S. Soccer Foundation, the Major Charitable Arm of Soccer in the United States, was one of five intermediaries to receive this award. In 2012, the Soccer for Success program will expand to serve thirteen cities and over 12,000 children, as a result of the award the U.S. Soccer Foundation received from the Social Innovation Fund.
The grant was announced at a press conference held at Public School 54, the Dr. George E. Blackman School of Excellence, one of the schools that will benefit from the Soccer for Success program.