Location and general information
Philadelphia’s poverty rate is the highest among the US’s largest cities. Nearly 40% of the city’s youth live below the poverty line and face barriers to success: under-resourced schools, limited access to healthy foods, a lack of safe places to play, neighbourhoods with high rates of drug use and gang activity, exposure to violence, and high rates of trauma and adverse childhood experiences. Only one in five gets the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity daily, and one in five gets none at all.
The intensive Senior Leaders after-school programme combines football with health and fitness, academic support, and leadership training to help low-income and immigrant youth achieve success on and off the field. A positive, intentional culture honours youth voice and promotes accountability. The teens learn to apply mental toughness and lessons from the field to other parts of their lives. 99% graduated high school, and 91% continued to university, far outperforming their peers (69% and 55%).
Disadvantaged youth gain:
- skills, confidence and resilience to overcome challenges and achieve their goals
- long-term good health and physical fitness by establishing healthy lifestyles
- social and emotional well-being through healthy, positive connections
- post-secondary success
- a future as resilient, empathetic adults and engaged, productive citizens
The intensive after-school programme for 100-120 low-income teens requires them to attend two-hour sessions three days per week from November to March. They participate in football, mentoring, leadership, and fitness training. At the weekends they take part in university visits, post-secondary and professionalism workshops, community service projects, leagues, open play, tournaments and social events. Activities then continue from April to August, keeping the teens involved throughout the year.
- 100% of the participants will increase their engagement in physical activity and 100% will increase their knowledge and practice of healthy habits and behaviours.
- 100% will learn and practice key life/social-emotional skills to support long-term success and 100% will be matched with a mentor.
- 100% will graduate from high school and 95% will attain post-secondary education or training.