Weaving a thread between youth sports and the cultural heritage of Los Angeles Little Tokyo District. Teaching at-risk youth the water safety skills that save lives. Eliminating the cost barriers for young athletes to pursue their dreams on the tennis court, softball field or archery range. The common bond of these activities: Support from the LA84 Foundation, which today awarded nearly $1.7 million in grants to 14 school-based and community youth sports organizations.
LA84 has been a game-changer in youth sports for over 30 years, investing over $230 million in Southern California’s communities. Through LA84’s dual emphases on afterschool sports programming and reaching underserved youth in these grants, more than 25,000 young athletes will join over 3 million youth impacted by LA84’s work and mission.
“In a time where we need to come together more than ever to keep our youth engaged, active and healthy, sports give us a common bond and a way to invest in our future leaders. LA84 is proud to support grantees that empower youth to accomplish anything they put their mind to, on and off the field,” LA84 Foundation President & CEO Renata Simril said.
So, where are LA84’s grantees changing lives?
Head to Little Tokyo, where a $125,000 grant completes a community project decades in the making. The Budokan of Los Angeles facility will offer two gymnasiums for martial arts, volleyball and basketball leagues for underserved youth in the surrounding neighborhoods. Through sport, the diverse communities of Downtown Los Angeles and beyond will converge as young athletes pursue their dreams.
“I would like to thank the LA84 Foundation for its support of the Budokan of Los Angeles project and for partnering with LTSC to expand sports and recreational programming for youth in the Downtown region,” said Dean Matsubayashi, Executive Director, Little Tokyo Service Center. “The Budokan project will help to fulfill many unmet needs within the area, plus help to improve the overall health and well-being of local residents, particularly for those who don’t have access to affordable recreational opportunities.”
In Downtown, South and Central Los Angeles, Street Soccer USA is creating a pilot program for a league for homeless youth. A $75,000 grant will help launch the program, bringing hope and a support system to the youth and their families who need it most.
Now continue east to Whittier, where a $45,000 grant to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Whittier gives 12 elementary schools and their students a much-needed afterschool sports program. In a Service Planning Area where two-thirds of children are not obtaining the recommended amount of exercise, a new door of possibilities opens.
Ride north to Pasadena and the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center, where hundreds of low-income third-graders learn how to swim as part of their school curriculum thanks to a more than $60,000 grant. These young swimmers learn skills invaluable skills and take home vital knowledge to share with their family and friends. Knowledge that can save lives.
As for the next Pat Summitt or Dave Roberts? LA84’s $39,000 grant to the Positive Coaching Alliance will train over 1,500 coaches in 2017. As the nation’s most significant Olympic legacy organization, LA84 has trained 80,000 coaches. The foundation also hosts the world’s premier sports library and digital resource center, with more than 4 million downloads in 2016.
LA84’s free online coaching resources give everyone a chance to immerse themselves in sport, just like two programs within the Los Angeles Unified School District. LA84’s $500,000 grant to the Beyond The Bell Program enables every single LAUSD middle school student to participate in team sports without paying a dime. Over 12,000 kids across LA can play any of nine sports – boys, girls or co-ed – ranging from basketball and soccer to rugby and flag football.
At LA’s BEST, 193 LAUSD elementary schools offer not only afterschool sports, but summer leagues. Established by Mayor Tom Bradley in 1988 as an afterschool haven for youth in low-income areas, a $375,000 grant helps LA’s BEST put more than 12,500 kids on the right path. Play Rugby USA, recipients of an LA84 grant in excess of $77,000, will also continue to work with LAUSD schools and other partners to introduce youth across Los Angeles County to a sport they may have never discovered otherwise.
The Southern California Professional Golfers Association Junior Tour is making their sport more accessible for teenage girls in Riverside and San Bernardino County, while the Southern California Tennis Association develops youngsters’ love for the sport. The West Valley Eagles Youth Football Association serves youth in the San Fernando Valley, while the Long Beach YMCA, powered by a $75,000 grant, offers archery, skateboarding, cycling, surfing and kayaking programs. Students Run LA, recipients of a $125,000 award, trains students for the LA Marathon, while Catholic Charities of LA puts nearly 2,000 youth from underserved areas into organized soccer leagues thanks to a $25,000 grant.
One player, coach or mentor at a time, LA84 and its grantees will continue to cut a wide swath of positive impact.
About the LA84 Foundation
As a legacy of the 1984 Olympic Games, the LA84 Foundation continues to be a nationally recognized leader in support of youth sport programs and elevating the importance of sports in positive youth development. With 30 years of on the ground experience, LA84 seeks to provide an opportunity for every child to participate in sports and experience the wide range of positive outcomes associated with youth sport participation. Since its launch in 1985, LA84 has invested millions in the communities that supported the Games, reaching more than 3 million youth throughout Southern California, from Santa Barbara to San Diego County. The LA84 Foundation continues to promote the spirit of the 1984 Olympic Games by convening and engaging local, national and international audiences about the role of sport in society, and the impact of the Olympic Games on host cities, especially as we look ahead to the 2024 Games. LA84’s headquarters is located in the historic Britt House near downtown Los Angeles, where it houses meeting facilities and the world’s premier sports library. For more information, please visit www.la84.org, like the official Facebook page, follow @LA84Foundation on Twitter and Instagram, or subscribe on YouTube.
Steve Brener/Alyssa Hankins, BZA PR on behalf of the LA84 Foundation