Monica Seles visits the Laureus charity sports project helping cut risk of obesity and keep vulnerable children away from drugs and gangs.
July 25, 2013
Type "Overtown, Miami" into Google and its predicted search doesn’t suggest restaurants, or flat rentals or hotels.
Instead, it finishes your query with the word ‘crime’.
It demonstrates a sad reality that affects too many families of the area.
Overtown is one of Miami’s most underserved areas. Children grow up with the constant threat of gangs, drugs and, equally destructive, a life of ill health and obesity.
Laureus USA, along with national partner Mercedes Benz USA, is now working to change this.
This week, a year on from launching a partnership between Laureus and Up2Us Coach Across America in the area, the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation returned along with tennis legend and Laureus World Sports Academy Member Monica Seles.
Since then 4000 children from both Overtown and the rest of the Greater Miami Area have benefited from 24 coaches placed in 15 communities. These coaches, placed at the Touching Miami with Love, Quality United Education, Dade Lacrosse, Hope for Miami and Miami-Dade Parks and Recreation projects, have been providing safe and healthy post-school opportunities to the area’s children.
Dr. James Kallusky, Director of Coach Across America, said. “Most importantly, some of these kids are realizing a positive future that may have not been available in their lives before working with an Up2Us Coach Across America coach. Giving a kid a caring coach is a powerful thing.”
Last year’s Miami launch was part of a nationwide program backed by $1.3 million in support from MBUSA to Laureus USA. These efforts contributed to the training and placement of 250 CAA coaches in sports children’s sports projects in underserved neighbourhoods in five U.S. cities: Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Miami and New Orleans.
And having visited the Touching Miami with Love project in Overtown, nine-time Tennis Grand Slam winner Monica said: “Sport can give kids a great start. This is what we in the Academy do to give back: to try and teach that sport can be much larger than just winning.”