Sports That Serve Meeting Needs of Orphans

“There are many Calcuttas in the world,” said Mother Teresa. “Find your Calcutta.” This is one of the many great lessons we can take from Mother Teresa. It’s a call on all of us to find, and pursue, a service we are each passionate about.

Rob Shields definitely found his Calcutta. Perhaps it’s ironic that this came after spending eight months as the athletic director at Mother Teresa’s HIV/AIDS orphanage in Ethiopia. That experience working with 500 orphans was the catalyst for Shields’ Sports That Serve. The organization which launched in fall of 2008, aims to create an avenue of athletics to help meet the needs of orphan children in Ethopia, as well underserved children in the U.S. Get all the group’s info at

Variety of Illinois Takes a Look Back on 2009

Check out the new 2009 retrospective from Variety of Illinois. The non-profit group is helping to give children with disabilities the freedom and independence to live life and fulfill their roles in society. The effort reaches well beyond Illinois, though. Through a network of 54 chapters in 14 countries, Variety the Children’s Charity reaches into communities across the globe to offer financial assistance and services to children and organizations that serve children with disabilities.

True Sport Making an Impact on Canadian Sports

In Canada, there is a social movement powered by people using sports to transform lives. At the heart of True Sport is the simple idea that good sport can make a great difference. In its purest form, youth sports should inspires friendship, learning, health, and personal growth. Check out the video, which features top Canadian athletes including Silken Laumann, Marnie McBean and Steve Nash.

True Sport holds firm to the belief that after the family, sport is the most powerful influence on young people’s development. To help youth sports teams, athletes, coaches, parents and teaches stay focused, True Sport put together Principals for Sports and Principles for Communities: [Read more…]

Is it Right to Pay a Child for Every Goal Scored?

PCA150If I was on this plan when I was a kid, I’d be a rich man. I was always better at playing soccer than I was at taking out the garbage and mowing the lawn. While scoring a goal can hardly be considered a chore, it is a source of revenue for one kid.

Positive Coaching Alliance, a great organization aim at “transforming youth sports so sports can transform youth,”invites people to submit questions about youth sports.

Jerry in Vail wrote, “There’s a parent of a U12 soccer team player paying kids $5 for every goal they score. What’s your take on this?”

I have a feeling Jerry poses it as a rhetorical question. But let the talk begin. Jump on over to the PCA Web site to catch up on the subject and to chime in with your opinion.

Sports Shed Takes Equipment Drive to New Level

Chicago’s NBC 5 profiles The Sports Shed, a growing Illinois-based organization that is distributing sports equipment to non-profit organizations, including Girls in the Game and Mercy Home for Boys, who run sports and fitness programs for youth. The TV news piece throws a bit a curve. What starts as an apparent plug for Play It Again Sports turns into a pitch of an alternative way, and an arguably better way, to dispose of used sports equipment.

In Illinois, the Daily Herald’s Mick Zawislak caught up with The Sports Shed Founder Tina Sernett over the summer. Zawislak: “There was no light bulb moment, but as the sports equipment piled up, Tina Sernett decided there had to be a way to put it to good use.” [Read more…]

No Kidding! Comedian Eddie Izzard Completes Charity Run Around United Kingdom

Is anybody up for a nice brisk run around the United Kingdom? The entire U.K.? Officials at U.K.-based charity Sport Relief initially thought such an idea was crazy, but comedian Eddie Izzard wasn’t joking. I can almost hear the more serious tone of Izzard affirming his plan, “I said 1100 miles. I will try to run 30 miles a day for 6 days a week. It will probably take 7 weeks.” After that meeting in late July, Izzard embarked on the Sport Relief: Rise to the Challenge charity run. Go stride-for-stride with Izzard on his blog. While run itself is arguably crazy, the cause is great. When Izzard reached his London destination, the effort had raised over 200,00 pounds. The money will fund projects across the U.K., Africa and throughout some of the world’s poorest countries. Sport Relief tackles a wide variety of problems that poor, disadvantaged and vulnerable people face. Thanks for the run Eddie. Now enjoy your rest!

Life Rolls On Merges with Reeve Foundation

LifeRollsOn150They’re billing it as the “most major event” in their ten-year history, and for good reason. While Life Rolls On will continue to produce unique quality of life programs, including its award-winning, adaptive surfing program, They Will Surf Again, as well as education, motivation and awareness initiatives, the organization will now do so with the leadership of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.

In a merger announced on what would’ve been Christopher Reeves’ 57th birthday (September 25), L.A.-based Life Rolls On becomes the West Coast headquarters and division of the Reeve Foundation. Both organizations’ mission and focus will remain the same. However, together, the organizations combine to create perhaps the most powerful and dynamic spinal cord injury (SCI) organization in the country. A big plus for Life Rolls On is that now the organization will be able to position its programs and services on a global platform, and make an even greater impact on, and provide additional resources for, young people affected by SCI. [Read more…]

Street Games Festival Exposing Kids to Sports

Olympic athletes Beth Tweddle and Diane Modahl recently took time to meet with children to encourage them to get involved in different sports. The event was part the sixth annual North West Street Games Festival in the U.K. The festival, organized by Sport4Life, aims to bring sports to children from disadvantaged backgrounds. The accompanying three minute video explains the effort (Manchester News, 9/17).

PCA Gives Out Three Honoring the Game Awards

09.17.09 - Positive Coaching Alliance 100As part of the National Youth Sports Awards Program sponsored by Deloitte, Positive Coaching Alliance now bestows quarterly Honoring the Game Awards to schools and youth sports organizations that embody PCA ideals.

The most recent winners include Mustang Soccer in Danville, Calif., Niles North High School in Skokie, Ill., and Northport Cow Harbor United Soccer Club out of Long Island, N.Y. [Read more…]

CAN Futbol Foundation Using Soccer to Serve Children; Lakers’ Farmar Active With His Own Foundation

The CAN Futbol Foundation is a grassroots, humanitarian organization that uses soccer and education as its vehicle to empower the world’s underprivileged youth.

This eight-minute film takes a look at CANFF’s work in Honduras.

After the jump, there’s a video on Los Angeles Lakers G Jordan Farmar. [Read more…]

News Bytes: Catching Up On the Week’s Stories

Golf takes the top this week, with the Mike Weir Foundation being named an official charity of the RBC Canadian Open. Plus, Tiger’s foundation announced a matching donations effort. Also after the jump, bytes on Michael Phelps, Athletics for Kids and reader suggestions from the West Coast.

Mike Weir Foundation

Mike Weir: RBC and the Royal Canadian Golf Association announced the Mike Weir Foundation as a national charity partner for the RBC Canadian Open. The inaugural Mike Weir Charity Classic will be added to the lineup of tournament week activities for the July 20-26 RBC Canadian Open in Ontario.

RBC President & CEO Gordon Nixon: “A critical component of our being title sponsor of the RBC Canadian Open is to ensure we are generating charitable legacies in our communities. Creating the Mike Weir Charity Classic during tournament week is an important step towards this objective and will help improve children’s wellness across Canada.” [Read more…]

Conversation: Sports4Kids Founder Jill Vialet Discusses a New Brand of Play in Schools


While there is a national concern about the apparent decline in the physical fitness of our youth, there is one group that is bringing a new way to play to schools across the country. Sports4Kids, based in Oakland, Calif., is rethinking school recess and taking its new brand play to low-income public schools. Sports4Kids has programs in seven cities now, but that number will grow to 27 by the 2011-12 school year.

To say this is just about “play” might be an understatement. For one, the Sports4Kids brand of play teaches kids self-regulation, which is unquestionably a life-long lesson. Also, Sports4Kids really gets into the trenches with its partner schools. From creating structured, safe and inclusive environments, to working to reintroduce physical activity into the school curriculum, and to developing after-school physical activity and academic enhancement programs, Sports4Kids is having a major impact on kids. It’s no wonder they’re expanding.

Progress Avenue recently chatted with Jill Vialet, the founder and president of Sports4Kids:

Progress Avenue: Your organization offers a “brand of play.” What do you mean when you say “brand”?

Jill Vialet: We talk about our unique brand of play, which is all about kids taking responsibility and understanding their role in fun, inclusive games. We’re not opposed to competition. We do a lot of competitive games, but we try and do it in a way that takes some of the intensity out of being competitive. We also do a lot of non-competitive games and we do everything in between. [Read more…]