RWJF Announces Harlem-Based Local Organizations Selected As Sports Award Finalists

August 1, 2019

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has announced 12 finalists for the 2019 Sports Award, an honor recognizing professional teams, individuals and organizations that strengthen and serve communities through sport. The winners will be honored on November 7, 2019, during an awards presentation at the Foundation’s headquarters in Princeton, N.J.

The Sports Award recognizes innovative and influential approaches to using sports to make communities healthier places to live. Approaches may include: helping children maintain a healthy weight; creating safe play environments; encouraging positive behaviors; eliminating bullying, abuse and violence; and expanding opportunities for children living in poverty.

“At the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, we believe everyone should have a fair opportunity for health and well-being. Through sport, people have the chance to use their bodies actively and to interact socially—both essential to good health,” said Richard Besser, RWJF president and CEO. “The Sports Award celebrates those who are using innovative approaches to make their communities healthier through sport. This year’s incredible finalists are breaking down barriers, connecting communities, and providing the space for health to flourish. We applaud them all.”

Three of those finalists are New York-based organizations:

America SCORES is a national nonprofit organization offering to programme for over 13,000 students in 12 cities around North America. Integrating soccer, poetry and service-learning, America SCORES’ innovative approach improves at-risk students’ health, academic achievement and civic engagement by focusing on teamwork, creativity, literacy, school engagement and leadership. To date, America SCORES has touched the lives of more than 130,000 urban youth. The organization’s mission is to inspire urban youth to lead healthy lives, be engaged students, and have the confidence and character to make a difference in the world.

Figure Skating in Harlem (FSH) is a pioneering youth development organization that combines the power of education with access to the artistic and athletic discipline of figure skating to help girls of color thrive and become strong leaders. Its mission is to help girls transform their lives and grow in confidence, leadership, and academic achievement. Its vision is for every student, regardless of socio-economic background, to develop the foundational academic, social and leadership skills to achieve her dreams. She will be a powerful speaker, an effective leader, live a healthy lifestyle and be a global citizen. With 22 years of experience in New York City, in 2017, FSH launched its first chapter in Detroit, bringing its powerful and effective programming to a whole new community and expanding its impact.

Harlem Lacrosse is dedicated to improving health and combating poverty by addressing the opportunity gap between students in economically disadvantaged communities and their more affluent peers. Their program partners with underserved schools in New York, Baltimore, Boston, Los Angeles and Philadelphia and then actively recruits students identified as most vulnerable to academic decline, dropout, and risk-taking behaviors that negatively impact their health and well-being. They provide student athletes with holistic all-day, year-round support, including daily study halls, mentoring, push-in academic support, experiential and service-learning, and vigorous, character-building lacrosse instruction and competition. Their comprehensive programming empowers students to set high expectations for themselves, make healthy choices, and provides them the skills and support to achieve their goals on the field, in the classroom and beyond.

For a complete list of finalists, or for more information on the Sports Award, please click here.

Photo credit: Harlem Lacrosse.

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