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  • Honoring the World’s Greatest Athletes

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    MONACOFebruary 14, 2017 – The Laureus World Sports Awards took place in the company of royalty as Monaco’s Prince Albert and Princess Charlene joined the biggest names in sport. The ceremony, hosted by Hugh Grant, named Usain Bolt and Simone Biles the Laureus Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year.

        The Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games produced three more Laureus winners: Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all-time, won Comeback of the Year after he returned to swimming and scooped five more gold medals; Italy’s Beatrice Vio, the only quadruple amputee in international wheelchair fencing, won the Disability Award, and the Olympic Refugee Team, led by Tegla Loroupe, won the Laureus Sport for Good Award for Sporting Inspiration.

    Red Carpet - 2017 Laureus World Sports Awards - Monaco

    The prestigious Laureus Sport for Good Award, won by an organization or individual who, in the opinion of the members of the Laureus World Sports Academy, has used the power of sport to overcome violence, discrimination or disadvantage, went to Waves for Change. The South African based project uses surfing to reach vulnerable young adults growing up in South Africa’s most violent communities. Waves for Change ingeniously uses surfing to help youth build healing relationships, cope with stress and make positive life-choices.

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    After finishing second in the Formula One World Championship to his Mercedes AMG Petronas team-mate Lewis Hamilton in 2014 and 2015, Germany’s Nico Rosberg at last won his first world title and he was presented with the Laureus Breakthrough of the Year Award.

    There were two Awards for British sport: the world’s greatest downhill mountain biker Rachel Atherton won the Action Sportsperson of the Year, while Leicester City won a special Laureus Spirit of Sport Award to mark their remarkable achievement in winning English football’s Premier League as 5,000-1 outsiders.

    Another historic team performance was Chicago Cubs’ first Major League Baseball World Series victory for 108 years. This feat won them the Laureus Team of the Year Award.

    For the first time ever, sports fans around the world voted for the new Best Sporting Moment of the Year Award. The Award, which brings to life the true power and magic of sport, looked beyond the headlines and captured the fair play, emotion and sportsmanship of sport in 2016. It was presented to the Barcelona Under-12 Team for the humanity and warmth they showed in consoling a Japanese team who they had beaten.

     

    On February 15, 2017
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    Shredding for a Cause

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    LOS ANGELES February 11th, 2017 –  People from all walks of life, from pharmacists to engineers, followed their passion for giving back to the STOKED Trishredathon, sponsored by Laureus Sport for Good USA. By signing up for an unbelievable day of snowboarding, skateboarding and surfing through Southern California; participants also agreed to raise $500 for STOKED.

    On the morning of the event, we were up before the sun. Everyone met at Venice Beach at 6am and loaded the buses to Bear Mountain. Fueled by coffee and a few too many donuts, everyone hit the slopes for a exciting morning of snowboarding. After shredding, it was back to Venice beach for some skateboarding on the boardwalk. As the sun began to set, the group ran into the ocean for a golden surfing session.

    The best part – this was all for an incredibly important cause. Each participant’s donation will enable a young person from Los Angeles to join STOKED’s Mentor program, presenting them with life-changing opportunities to get active and dream big. Together, the team was able to raise over $10,000 to benefit STOKED youth

    STOKED’s mission is to inspire teens who are the most vulnerable, to believe in themselves through action sports. Teen participants go on day trips outside of the city and are paired with mentors who show them how to ride. From standing on top of a mountain, to catching a wave, young people are placed in environments that change their perspective. For most of the inner-city youth involved, STOKED trips provide their first experience seeing a mountain or an ocean. Given a new viewpoint, and the support of a mentor who cares, youth are shown what they are truly capable of.

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    The result? Thousands of young people have learned a new action sport, while also building a brighter future. STOKED’s results speak for themselves: they boast an 100% high school graduation rate for youth in their after-school programs.  In addition, 100% of school administrators report that STOKED made their students more academically engaged. Laureus Sport for Good USA was proud to play a part in building fearless young leaders by supporting the STOKED 2017 Trishredathon.

    Check out all of the photos from the event on Flickr. 

    On February 13, 2017
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    Requesting Proposals for Youth Sport Grants on Atlanta’s Westside

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    ATLANTAFebruary 7th, 2017 – Laureus Sport for Good Foundation USA (Laureus USA) announced that it is accepting proposals for its Sport for Good Atlanta grants. Laureus USA will fund youth sports programs in three of Atlanta’s Westside communities – English Avenue, Vine City, and Washington Park – where K-12 children have had limited access to extracurricular athletics. Organizations that are interested in applying for funding must complete our online Expression of Interest form by March 3rd.

    “These grants are in response to the Westside community’s input and feedback,” said Benita Fitzgerald-Mosley, CEO of Laureus Sport for Good USA. “The core of our Foundation’s strategic approach is to ensure our work directly impacts our beneficiaries and the communities in which they live. We were purposeful in learning about challenges from Westside residents themselves, and identifying where the needs exist. Those insights enable us to more effectively apply our expertise in using sport programs to drive youth development.”

    To help gather those critical insights, Laureus USA partnered with Families First, Inc. Atlanta’s oldest and largest nonprofit family services organization. Over the course of the past nine months, Laureus USA and Families First have solicited feedback from hundreds of people living and working in English Avenue, Vine City, and Washington Park.

    “Our partnership shares a common goal: to identify and support innovative programs and to be a good Westside neighbor contributing to the positive, collaborative fabric of our community,” said Kim Anderson, CEO of Families First. “From the outset, Laureus understood the importance of engaging Westside residents in the development of their plans, and we were glad to help them in gathering and aggregating critical information and data.”

    ATLANTA, GA - JULY 28: Kids play in the pack during the Laureus Prep-a-Scholar Community Event at Washington Park on July 28, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images for Laureus)

    Laureus USA and Families First wanted to better understand the challenges that Westside Atlanta youth face, as well as what youth sports opportunities currently exist. Out of 400 residents’ surveys, over half of which were responses from youth 12 – 18 years old, only 15% of respondents felt that there were enough sport offerings for youth in their community. An overwhelming 79% felt it was important for youth in the community to have access to sports, but affordability was cited as the greatest barrier to families engaging in youth sport programs. The local knowledge shared by youth, program providers and parents have now informed the focus of the Sport for Good Atlanta grants.

    It is the goal of Laureus USA and its national partner Mercedes-Benz USA to help address these concerns by assisting local program providers in closing this opportunity gap.

    ATLANTA, GA - JULY 28: Photos from the Laureus Prep-a-Scholar Community Event at Washington Park on July 28, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images for Laureus)

    “We know from past experience with Laureus in other cities across the U.S. that participation in sports can have a very positive impact on children, specifically their academic success,” said Dietmar Exler, president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA. “Sports can also provide a unifying force that strengthens local communities. As a member of the Atlanta community, we’re looking forward to our partnership with Laureus USA enabling us to harness sports to help open future pathways of success for the children of the Westside.”

    On February 7, 2017
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    Protecting Opportunities for Girls and Women in Sports

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    WASHINGTON D.C. February 1, 2017 – A coalition of champion athletes and civil rights leaders, including our CEO Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, arrive on Capitol Hill today to celebrate the 31st annual National Girls & Women in Sports Day (NGWSD), a national observance celebrating the extraordinary achievements of girls and women in sports.

    The theme this year, “Expanding Opportunity,” will focus on issues surrounding the protection of rights secured under Title IX in anticipation of the law’s 45th anniversary and ensuring equal access to sports, particularly in underserved and minority communities.  The NGWSD Coalition members the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF), National Women’s Law Center, and Girls Inc. will meet with the Office on Women’s Health and other key government leaders on Capitol Hill in both the Congress and Senate. The briefing and panel discussion featuring professional and collegiate athletes, and Title IX experts will take place in the Capitol Visitor Center and is sponsored by the Office of Senator Patty Murray (D-WA).

    Nationally, thousands of sports educators, coaches, athletic departments, recreation centers, community organizations, students and parents will come together to host hundreds of local events across all 50 states to celebrate.

    Rep. Nita Lowey for New York’s 17th Congressional District presents the American flag to champion athletes Esther Lofgren (rowing) and Phaidra Knight (rugby), and Deborah Slaner Larkin of the Women’s Sports Foundation, in honor of the 31st anniversary of National Girls and Women in Sports Day

    On January 31, representatives of the Coalition visited two girl-serving organizations in the D.C. metro area, DC SCORES and Girls Inc. of the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area, to observe how these organizations have benefited young women in their community through sports. Girls participating in both programs, which are recipients of WSF and espnW’s Sports 4 Life grant, had the chance to interact with champion athletes and advocates, as well as share with Coalition members the character and leadership skills gained by their participation in sports programs.

    Despite Title IX’s impact in the lives of girls and women over the past 45 years, only 42% of high school girls are currently playing sports, leaving three-in-five girls without the opportunity to compete.

    This shortfall has long-term consequences for girls’ health, academic success, and economic security. Research demonstrates that girls who play sports have better health, higher self-esteem, stronger leadership skills, greater academic achievement, and economic opportunity. Further, female athletes often derive greater benefits from athletic participation than their male peers.

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    Young athletes from Walt Whitman High School and AAU Team Swish meet with CEO of Laureus Sport for Good USA, Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, during her visit to Capitol Hill.

    The courage, confidence and character gained through sports participation are the very tools girls need to become the strong leaders of tomorrow. Title IX is as essential now as it was in 1972 and the law needs to be upheld to ensure that no girl is deprived of the opportunity to achieve.

    “Today we want to recognize the great advancements that have been made since Title IX’s enactment in 1972. At that time, 1/27 girls played high school sports. Today, nearly 45 years later, that number has grown to 2/5. However, there is still much to be done. 60 percent of girls do not have access and those are primarily girls of color who come from disadvantaged backgrounds,” says Grete Eliassen, WSF President and a six-time Winter X Games medalist.

    “The stakes are too high, the benefits of sports too important for girls and women to sit on the sidelines.”

     


     

    National Girls & Women in Sports Day (NGWSD) began in 1987 as a special day in our nation’s capital to recognize women’s sports. The day united premiere organizations and elite female athletes to bring national attention to the promise of girls and women in sports. In 1987, NGWSD also served as a remembrance of Olympic volleyball player, Flo Hyman, for her athletic achievements and dedication to promoting equality for women’s sports; Hyman died of Marfan’s Syndrome in 1986. NGWSD has since evolved into an event to acknowledge the accomplishments of female athletes, the positive influence of sports participation and the continuing struggle for equality for women in sports.

    National Girls & Women in Sports Day is celebrated annually across all 50 states with community-based events, award ceremonies and other celebratory activities. NGWSD is organized by the members of the National Girls & Women in Sports Day Coalition. Champion women athletes have also contributed to annual NGWSD activities. For more information, please visit: www.NGWSD.org.

    On February 2, 2017
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    Empowering New Orleans

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    NEW ORLEANS – December 6th, 2016 – We believe in the power of groups, and know that people can do more together than they can alone. That’s why we have centered our efforts in New Orleans around partnership, as we continue to engage and align a wide range of organizations around sport’s potential for good. By combining local expertise and resources, we are reaching new ground.

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    Continuing our support of local collaboration, we held a New Orleans Sport for Good Community Summit with our partners at the Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program. The summit convened leaders and advocates that are intentionally using youth sport to build a better community. Together, they identified barriers and opportunities for sport to unlock better health, further education and equitable employment for the youth of New Orleans.

    Tom Farrey, Executive Director of Aspen’s Sports & Society Program, echoed the Surgeon General of the United States in his opening remarks. He explained that sport can be an “unexpected solution” to many of society’s key issues, ranging from obesity to gun violence. Our work in New Orleans continues to prove that, as we are beginning to demonstrate Sport for Good’s measurable impact on the physical fitness and emotional health of local youth.  Risa Isard, Program Associate for Aspen Institute Sports and Society Program, shared that over 90% of youth sport organizations in New Orleans are committed to emphasizing the health and educational benefits of sports. While this community has clearly embraced sport’s potential for change, barriers still remain: coaches need training, youth need support and parents need awareness.

    A panel of native New Orleanians then took the stage to discuss how sport is making a difference, and where youth need more support to stay engaged. As the focus of our impact is young people, we invited youth representatives to share their voices alongside CEO of the Aspen Institute Walter Isaacson and ESPN Host Michael Smith.

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    Michael Smith, host of ESPN show His & Hers, shared how playing sports in the streets of New Orleans as a child shaped who he is an an adult. Those experiences helped him to “develop the discipline and leadership” he needed in his professional career. He stressed the importance of all youth having similar experiences, urging them to do “whatever it takes to be able to play with your immediate peers and develop conflict resolution skills.”

    Unfortunately, the landscape of sport in New Orleans has changed since Michael Smith’s childhood. Tevin, a coach from Up2Us Sports, painted a more difficult picture. Growing up, Tevin recognized a significant lack of strong male role models in his neighborhood. This inspired him to undergo the training necessary to become a highly qualified youth sport coach. He became certified as a coach by our partner Up2Us Sports in hopes of making a positive difference in kids’ lives. Coach Tevin shared that,

    70% of Up2Us coaches from the neighborhoods that we serve in. We are trying to give back, and let [youth] understand that they do not need to become what they see in front of them. We give these children different opportunities in life to change themselves from the environment that they’re living in.

    Tevin carries a deep responsibility for the youth that he serves. He is “touched” when his students share their personal problems with them. He explained that it helps him to realize his greater purpose as a mentor. His commitment drives him to go above and beyond his expected duties. As Tevin explained, he will often “take these guys to a gym on Saturday or Sunday, it’s important to have a safe space to enjoy themselves.”

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    The dangers of playing in unsafe neighborhoods have similarly challenged Ronjay, a youth participant from Youth Run NOLA. Ronjay voiced concerns that “just recently in my neighborhood someone was killed.” As a result, he has tried to stay indoors and out of trouble. Ronjay credited Youth Run NOLA, a Laureus-funded program that is building a community of healthy leaders through running, for changing his mindset. He explained that Youth Run NOLA “takes me outside and introduces me to people that won’t put me in a bad situation.” He said his running peers have continue to encourage him, keep him engaged, and drive him to do better in all aspects of life.

    Building strong social networks is a critical component of another one of our local program partners, ELEVATE. Their practices emphasize a sense of family, as each student supports one another’s academic and athletic success. They incorporate both tutoring and elite basketball training with the goal of sending each participating to college on a scholarship. Kameryn, a youth participant from ELEVATE, explained that they start with homework and “if you don’t finish you don’t get on the court.” Kameryn made the point that having the support of tutors is especially important for some of her peers who don’t have parents they can rely on for homework help.

    The discussion helped to inform our panel moderator Walter Isaacson. He declared,

    This has moved me and provoked me to think more than any panel in a very long time. I have realized how important all these things are.

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    Walter stated that if he could do one thing to help the city of New Orleans, where we grew up, he would continue to multiply these efforts to use youth sport to its full potential. We are equally invested in sport’s greater purpose and will continue to galvanize local support. Thanks again to the Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program for their help in organizing this event.

    On December 21, 2016
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    The Laureus Day of Sport

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    ATLANTA, GEORGIA – November 12th, 2016 – The Laureus Day of Sport brought together over 65 young people from Atlanta’s Westside community, filling their Saturday morning with sports, music and laughter. The event was a continuation of our going partnership with local non-profit Families First and Mercedes-Benz USA to strengthen the underserved Vine City, English Avenue and Washington Park neighborhoods through the power of sport. The Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United FC also lent their support to the youth-driven initiative as official sponsors of the event.

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    The day kicked off with stretching and warmups led by Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders alongside Freddie the Falcon, the official mascot of the Atlanta Falcons. Former Atlanta Falcons Robert Moore and Ken Oxendine then spoke about sport as a platform for new opportunities, friendships and better health. Laureus USA Chairman Edwin Moses and CEO Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, both Olympic Gold Medalists, explained Laureus’ work around the world that uses sport as a social change through the support of Mercedes-Benz USA.

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    All of the youth then split into teams and got to know their team mates, many of which were new faces. Teams then rotated through sports stations that exposed them to a wide variety of opportunities to stay active. They continued to bond with their team mates as they ran, played soccer, basketball, tennis and football together.

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    We were leverage the support of its many partners across professional and youth sport to present an exciting offering of stations. The football and soccer stations were run by our generous event sponsors the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United FC. Laureus were also able to incorporate two of their partner programs from their work in New Orleans: Girls on the Run NOLA and ELEVATE. Girls on the Run NOLA ran fun running activities with the support of the local Girls on the Run Atlanta chapter. ELEVATE ran endurance focused basketball drills that had the youth alternating between dribbling and jumping.

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    The final station gave youth the opportunity to share and discuss what sport means in their own lives, and what sport programs they would like to see in their own community. Their insight were captured instantaneously by a live illustrator, who drew and organized their feedback.

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    The Day of Sport brought youth of Atlanta’s Westside closer together, while inspiring them to stay active through a wide variety of sports. Together, Mercedes-Benz USA, Laureus USA and Families First will continue to invest in the surrounding neighborhoods through innovative sport programming that will maximize the potential of local youth.

     

    On November 17, 2016
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    Germany Hosts the Laureus Sport for Good Summit

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    HEIDELBERG, GERMANY – October 13th, 2016 – The movement of Sport for Good transcends cultures, languages and ideologies to unite 35 different countries in their use of sport as a tool for social change. This past week, Laureus convened its global network of over 100 partners to exchange knowledge, address challenges and inspire new ideas. The convening, called the Laureus Sport for Good Summit, created a platform that advanced sport as a catalyst for global development. Over the course of the Summit, themes of youth leadership, collaboration and alignment to the Sustainable Development Goals emerged.

    Laureus Sport For Good Summit - Day 1

    From using skateboarding in Afghanistan, to judo in Argentina: each Sport for Good program that Laureus supports was represented. Laureus brought them together to provide tools and ideas for them to strengthen their impact. Over three days of panels, workshops and games, leaders of these programs were able to deepen their understanding of sport as a driver of youth development.  They found that sport’s flexibility lends itself to addressing a broad range of complex challenges. These targets range from child marriage to obesity, racism to gun violence. Whatever the issue at hand, each program is successfully using sport to address it and put at-risk children on a better path. The parallels between programs, despite operating on different continents, showcased how sport plays a universally impactful role in the development of youth.

    14589695_10153934814435777_5273196309988901707_oJoining the inspirational experience were some of Laureus Ambassadors and Academy Members, who are professional athletes that volunteer their time in support of Sport for Good. Laureus Ambassadors Sebastian Steudtner and Tamika Catchings spoke on perseverance, urging the audience to pursue their goals at all costs. They shared experiences of when others doubted them and told them they would never amount to anything. They also discussed what inspired them to start their own Sport for Good programs. Laureus Academy Members Hugo Porta and Sean Fitzpatrick discussed the importance of humility and resilience in rising to the challenges that we will all face in life.

    Laureus Sport For Good Summit - Day 3A reoccurring focus of the conference was the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their relevance to Sport for Good.  Created by the United Nations, the SDGs are a roadmap to achieving prosperity for our planet and all of its people. It is an agenda made up of clearly outlined goals that all nations and sectors must partner to achieve by 2030. Laureus Sport for Good believes that focusing on the  SDGs will help amplify sport’s positive effects on youth around the world. By having the programs fit their outcomes into specific SDGs, they can help prove their impact and unlock new support.

    Laureus Sport For Good Summit - Day 3While Laureus Sport for Good guided programs through the process of identifying which SDGs they are working towards, it underwent the same exercise. Laureus Sport for Good ultimately refocused its mission and vision around using sport to achieve six key SDGs:

    Health: Enhancing physical and mental well-being

    Education: Increasing access to quality education

    Employability: Creating pathways to meaningful employment

    Women and Girls: Promoting gender equality, empowerment and safety

    Inclusive Society: Creating communities that embrace differences

    Peaceful Society: Resolving conflict and creating safe spaces

    With the power of sport as the unifying language, lasting friendships were forged over the three-day summit. These newfound partnerships will become the future of Sport for Good, as programs will now work together to effectively strengthen their impact. Laureus was deeply inspired by the convening, and will use the results to enhance our support of youth around the world.

    On October 19, 2016
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    Pioneering Sport’s Role in Public Health

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    WASHINGTON D.C. – October 5th, 2016 – Deepening our commitment to leveraging sport to improve health, Laureus Sport for Good USA convened public health researchers and advocates for an Innovation Summit in Washington D.C. With the support of the Global Obesity Prevention Center at Johns Hopkins, Aspen Institute’s Sports and Society Program, Office of the United States Surgeon General and the American College of Sports Medicine, we collectively outlined the next phase of progress for elevating physical activity in the United States.

    The event featured speaker presentations, themed working groups, and a fireside chat with the U.S. Surgeon General. Other featured speakers included Sports & Society Program Executive Director Tom Farrey, NCAA Chief Medical Officer Brian Hainline and Fitbit Chief Business Officer Woody Scal. The conference facilitated cross-sector collaboration and produced new solutions that will be published in a future academic journal.

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    By convening leaders that spanned health, sport, science and technology: the conference allowed the multi-faceted group to consider more comprehensive methodologies to improve our nation’s health. This collaborative outlook is based upon the Systems Approach, which the Johns Hopkins Global Obesity Prevention Center uses in its everyday work. This approach addresses the root cause of a problem by attempting to change behavior across society as a whole. It requires the alignment of a diverse range of partners that influence a multitude of factors including policy, culture and economics.

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    Laureus Sport for Good contributed their expertise on the use of sport as a tool to improve public health. Laureus Ambassador Missy Franklin and Chairman Edwin Moses discussed the social and emotional benefits of sport participation. They explained how playing sports has helped them to develop confidence, leadership and empathy in addition to keeping them physically healthy. For more people to reap these benefits, they insisted that youth must engage with caring and capable coaches that have undergone the training they need to become mentors to their participants.

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    Laureus Ambassador Bob Lujano gave the keynote presentation on inspiring inclusion through the Paralympic movement. He gave a voice to the millions of disabled people whose physical and mental capabilities are often overlooked due to their handicaps. Disabled individuals become especially vulnerable when they are excluded from opportunities for physical activity as a result. Bob declared:

    I don’t want my disability to be the focus of inspiration. It should be the way I live my life that serves as an inspiration to others.

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    He explained that changing societal perceptions about the physical abilities of disabled people must begin treating them normally. He challenged TV networks to give more equitable airtime to the Paralympics, called upon schools to find reasonable adaptions to the sports they offer, and encouraged communities to mandate constructions projects that make buildings and sidewalks wheelchair accessible. These steps will help elevate the health of a population that needs our support to stay physically active.

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    The event concluded with words from the U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy. He echoed that finding new ways to incorporate physical activity into our daily lives is essential to transforming our health. He recognized sport as a palatable way to stay active and form new relationships, agreeing that it addresses not only our physical needs but our social as well. The Surgeon General went on to explain that sport can help address our nation’s most pervasive affliction:

    The most common pathology in the US is not cancer or heart disease – its isolation. It’s people feeling a sense of loneliness despite having three thousand friends on Facebook or hundreds of people living in the building. 

    To combat this, the Surgeon General explained that it requires the support of a community. In his own experiences, having other people to work with, compete against and accomplish alongside is critical to staying involved in the pursuit of better health. Following the advice of the Dr. Murthy, the Innovation Summit marks the beginning of our long-term efforts to engage a growing number of partners in the fight for better health. We look forward to continuation of our work together as we re-prioritize our nation’s health through the lens of sport and physical activity.

    On October 18, 2016
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    Marcus Allen Joins Sport for Good Weekend in New Orleans

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    NEW ORLEANS – September 10th, 2016 – Laureus Sport for Good’s efforts in New Orleans are grounded in the spirit of collaboration. This past weekend, we co-hosted a Sport Sampling Field Day that showcased the power of joining forces. The event brought together Laureus Academy Member Marcus Allen, 8 youth sport programs and 200 local youth. For the second year in a row, we celebrated the limitless potential for sport to strengthen the social fabric of New Orleans.

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    The event took over A.L. Davis Park with a colorful range of activities to keep families engaged and active. Participants had the opportunity to sample the broad range of sports that are available to them in their very own community. In addition, there were arts and crafts, a DJ, free giveaways and tons of snacks. The entire event was completely free and open to the public, all thanks to the support of Mercedes-Benz USA.

    The Sport Sampling Field Day kicked off with four-square, jump rope and basketball before moving into stations that included soccer, dancing, dodgeball, golf, running and more. Each station was run by a local youth sport program, and gave a flavor of their expertise. Presenting organizations included some of the best sport programs that New Orleans has to offer: DiscoveryFEST NOLA, YouthRunNOLA, Girls on the Run NOLA, The First Tee of Greater NOLA, Playworks Lousiana, Up2Us Sports, YLC Kicks, and NORDC.

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    Each of these organizations are valued members of the New Orleans Sport for Community Coalition, powered by Laureus. They have a collective goal of using sport to address the challenges that local youth face. Despite focusing on different sports and age groups, these organizations meet frequently to learn from one another. Their sharing of experiences helps to propel them towards their vision of a happier and healthier New Orleans.

    NOLA Laureus Sport for Good Weekend

    Laureus Academy Member and football legend Marcus Allen came to show his enduring support for our youth sport initiatives. Allen excelled in his illustrious career as a running back for the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Raiders, earning honors including Superbowl MVP and League MVP. He knows first hand about the power of sport, and used this opportunity to meet with and give back to local families. He talked one-on-one with children and parents, challenging them to stay active, maximize their potential and build strong relationships with one another. Marcus Allen emphasized why this event was so important to him personally:

    It’s so important to get all of these kids out here today. We have 8 organizations involved that really love the kids, and want them to be in an environment where they prosper emotionally and physically through sport.

    The event wrapped up with one big fun run, inviting the whole group to come together. Marcus Allen led the run as he raced all of the kids around the park. Afterwards, each participant was awarded with a medal for their efforts to stay active throughout the day.

    NOLA Laureus Sport for Good Weekend

    To reward each of the project leaders for their hard work on the Field Day, we invited them to watch the New Orleans Saints take on the Oakland Raiders at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The game gave the opportunity for locals to root on their Saints, and for Marcus Allen to re-connect with his former team, the Raiders. Everyone was brought down to the field for pre-game, where they were able to watch both teams warm up from a front-row perspective. While on the field, they also met with players and team owners while taking in the view.

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    The entire weekend spoke to how deeply New Orleans values sports, and its ability to bring people together. Laureus Sport for Good USA is proud to support this community in harnessing the power of sport to affect social change. Thanks to our community partners for their leadership, and the support of Mercedes-Benz USA for making these memorable experiences possible.

    On September 14, 2016
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    Celebrating Arthur Ashe Kids Day

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    True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost – Arthur Ashe

    NEW YORK CITY – August 28th, 2016 –  This year, the U.S. Open brought tennis’ most talented players and dedicated fans to New York City. Before the Open kicked off, we celebrated an annual tradition called Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day. Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day is the largest youth tennis and entertainment event in the world: bringing together chart-topping performers, celebrities and some of the world’s best tennis players to honor the legacy of tennis legend and humanitarian Arthur Ashe.

    Thanks to Mercedes-Benz USA, we were able to invite over 15 youth organizations from five different states to learn more about the life of Arthur Ashe, and enjoy the event’s numerous activities

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    In the 1960s and 1970s, Arthur Ashe triumphed over deep southern segregation to become World No. 1. He remains the only African-American player to ever win the men’s singles titles at Wimbledon, the Australian Open and the US Open. Arthur Ashe, however, was more than just a champion on the court. He used his celebrity as a platform to advance social awareness and inspire positive change in the lives of youth.

    Ashe helped to found the National Junior Tennis & Learning Network (NJTL), a nationwide group of more than 500 nonprofit youth-development organizations that provide free tennis and educational programming. He was also a fearless advocate in the fight against AIDS. After contracting HIV through a blood transfusion, Ashe fought for his own life as hard as he did for others. He founded the Arthur Ashe Foundation to prevent, treat and cure AIDS, and courageously continued the fight until his death.

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    Today, the values of Arthur Ashe live on through Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day. Thanks to the generosity of Mercedes-Benz USA, we were able include a host of youth organizations in the activities, including the Clinton Foundation, USTA Foundation, Johnny Mac Tennis Project and many more.

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    Bronx Prep High School was able to bring their award-winning speech and debate team, and used the opportunity to motivate and celebrate their top scholars. Metropolitan Tennis and Education Group enjoyed practicing on the courts and joining in the fun. One of their students even won the target hitting contest, and walked away with over $10,000!

    Mercedes-Benz USA and Laureus Sport for Good USA are proud to have enabled over 200 young people to reignite their passion for tennis through Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day.

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    On September 13, 2016
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