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The local opportunity for sport

September 6, 2019

More and more frequently, global issues are being solved through local solutions. In just one week, teams, leagues brands, federations, governing bodies and agencies, will take over Beyond Sport House for Beyond Sport United to explore how the sport industry can have a positive impact in local communities, while also realizing business and societal objectives. Backed by our Founding Supporters - MLB, MLS, NBA, NFL, NHL and the WNBA - representatives will share on how they are tailoring global approaches to local cultures, needs and challenges. 

Here’s an advance look at some of the initiatives that will take center stage on September 13:

Presented by Melissa Schiller, NFL

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The NFL is celebrating its 100th anniversary season this year, and as part of the milestone it is inviting​ fans, players, clubs and employees to join Huddle for 100. The initiative is looking to inspire one million people to partner with the NFL in volunteering 100 minutes of their time to a cause of their choice to shape what participants what they want their communities to look like for the next 100 years.

“Giving back is part of the fabric of our league,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “From players and Legends, to club and league employees — we have a wide variety of ambassadors working year-round to leave a lasting, indelible impact on the communities in which we live and work. Through Huddle for 100, we hope to rally generations of fans, players, coaches, and the 32 clubs to serve the communities that have supported and sustained us over our first 100 years.”

There are four types of huddles, including: National (during major NFL milestones); Club (a season long competition among the 32 clubs); DoSomething (in partnership with the US's largest not-for-profit exclusively for young people and social change); and Personal huddles (fans volunteer for a cause of their choice).

Throughout the initiative, the NFL is giving participating fans the chance to win a variety of prizes, when they track their participation on the Huddle for 100 website. Fans can also share their volunteer efforts on social media using both the #NFLHuddleFor100 and #Sweepstakes hashtags to inspire even more people to take part.

Presented by Jessica Yavitz, Chicago Fire Soccer Club

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Since 1998, the charitable arm of the Chicago Fire Soccer Team, the Chicago Fire Foundation has been improving the quality of life throughout Chicagoland. In 2013 the Foundation established the P.L.A.Y.S. (Participate, Learn, Achieve, Youth, Soccer) Program, which is committed to enhancing the academic performance and development of key social and emotional learning skills of elementary school students through a sports based curriculum.

“The P.L.A.Y.S. Program has been able to help change the trajectory of the lives of Chicago’s youth. As a club we knew through our efforts, we can improve the lives of these youth in our communities and we have seen a decrease in behavior infractions, number of disciplinary incidents, unexcused absences, suspensions and failing grades from program participants,” said Jessica Yavitz, Executive Director, Chicago Fire Foundation and Vice President of Community Relations.  

The program teaches young people critical life skills on and off the pitch emphasizing teamwork, focus, discipline and overcoming adversity through the sport of soccer. These traits, such as emotional control, goal setting and attainment, cooperation, respect and communication, are tied to academic success and can improve the physical well-being and academic capabilities of students when structured within sport. 

With nearly 60% of P.L.A.Y.S. Schools located in the top 20 most violent neighborhoods in Chicago, the program is also providing a safe haven for youth and safer places to play.

Since the P.L.A.Y.S. began in 2013, more than 200,000 hours of soccer have been played by girls and boys in third through fifth grade across 30 Chicago Public Schools serving more than 700 youth.

Presented by Rick Riccobono, USA Baseball

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Reaching more than three million children in all 50 United States, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico and Mexico - and recently expanding to the UK – Fun at Bat is promoting active lifestyles for children, functional movement, literacy, play and fun, while also teaching the fundamental skills of bat-and-ball sports.

The joint MLB and USA Baseball initiative stems from meticulous research on introductory youth sport programs and is free for schools and school districts. Designed for use in physical education (P.E.) classes, it is available in English and Spanish and also includes a literacy component focusing on lifelong character development and teaching leadership, teamwork and responsibility traits.

"Fun At Bat is the fastest growing bat-and-ball program in the world, said Rick Riccobono, Chief Development Officer at USA Baseball. "With its comprehensive curriculum and fun-first approach, it is the ideal way to be introducing kids and new participants to our great game."

Fun At Bat is part of the PLAY BALL initiative – the sport's largest collective effort to encourage young people to participate in baseball- or softball-related activities, including formal and casual forms of play. The program builds a foundation for physical literacy in children that is verified and endorsed by movement professionals and the Society of Health And Physical Educators (SHAPE America).

MLB’s Melanie LeGrande, Vice President of Social Responsibility, recently shared on how the organization is bringing purpose to life in Forbes magazine. Check it out here!

Basketball Without Borders

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Since 2001, Basketball Without Borders (BWB), the NBA and FIBA's (International Basketball Federation) global basketball development and community outreach program, has been uniting young basketball players to promote the sport, education, health and wellness and fun in communities around the world.

BWB brings together the top high-school age male and female players to learn directly from NBA and FIBA players, legends and coaches and to compete against the best young players in their region.  Each camp uses the power of sport to promote cultural understanding while teaching the importance of a healthy, active lifestyle and the values of the game, including teamwork, integrity and respect.  .

"Sports have the power to bring communities together, but no two communities are the same. At the NBA, we want to hear the needs of people in the communities we reach, and work with our teams, players and partners to provide the resources and empowerment necessary for them to thrive,” said Tara Gutkowski Schwartz, Vice President of Social Responsibility at the NBA.  

Players and coaches lead the campers in a variety of on-and-off court activities, teaching basketball fundamentals and leading life-skills seminars for the campers. Each camp includes community outreach activities, such as building or refurbishing places where kids can learn and play.

Through 2019, 61 BWB camps in 38 cities in 30 countries on six continents have reached more than 3,500 participants from 129 countries and territories.

Don't miss out on the opportunity to be a part of the Beyond Sport United converation! Register today to join us.