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Center for Sport in Society Empowers Urban Youth
Northeastern's Center for the Study of Sport in Society works to foster social change through sports. Through programs geared primarily toward urban youth, the center promotes the values of diversity, violence prevention, teamwork, and service.
The center often uses professional and collegiate athletes to carry its message to Boston's urban areas and to speak to national audiences about the positive power of sport.
"Sport are a critical part of American culture, and our young people look up to athletes," says center director Peter P. Roby. "Thus, sports are a powerful platform for tostering social change and for promoting healthy lifestyles and choices among children."
Sport in Society outreach provides an important and visible way for Northeastern to interact with and improve its surrounding community.
The center is part of the university's commitment to serve as a model of urban engagement, a key theme of the $200 million Leadership Campaign.
Project Teamwork and Urban Youth Sports are two of the center's most successful programs. Project Teamwork sends athletes into public schools to provide training in diversity sensitivity and conflict resolution, with the goal of eliminating racism and discrimination.
Since the program was established with a grant from Reebok in 1990, more than 160,000 public school students have benefited from its instruction. In 1995, Project Teamwork captured national attention when the President Bill Clinton recognized it as a model violence-prevention program.
Urban Youth Sports improves opportunities for inner-city youths, particularly girls, to participate in organized sports. The program encourages young people to learn sports skills and adopt active and healthy lifestyles, and discourages risky behaviors.
The program has also received national recognition for its efforts to improve access to preventive health care.
Private support is essential to continuing the university's urban outreach programs, such a Sport in Society. Since the start of the leadership campaign, alumni and friends have given $3.8 million to the center. Honorary trustee Scott M. Black has given $1 million, and alumnus and trustee George D. Behrakis, PAH'57, H'98, has committed $250,000.
"With the support of community and alumni leaders
like Scott Black and George Behrakis, Sport in Society will continue
to make a significant difference in the lives of young people," says
Allyce Najimy, senior associate director of the center.
|This article appeared in the September 2003 issue of Northeastern Magazine.|
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