When kids are asked why they play sports, or participate in youth programs, they generally say they want to have fun, learn new skills and spend time with their friends. They understand the benefits on a very basic level. As a community it’s important to understand the very deep impact and benefits of youth programs. The Dr. Theodore Atlas Foundation knows that without such programs, kids are given the opportunity to challenge themselves physically, increase self confidence and focus on the positive feelings they get from participating.

With programs such as the 5th Grade Basketball League and the Atlas Cops and Kids Boxing Program, the Atlas Foundation strives to make an impact on the future of these communities; the children.

In the 5th Grade Basketball League, boys and girls are able to be a part of a basketball team or cheerleading squad with fellow students from their school. This league is designed to increase positive behavior as the students who wish to participate must meet academic and behavioral performance standards in school.

The Atlas Cops & Kids Boxing Program provides the youth in all five boroughs of the city an opportunity to work with coaches in open youth boxing gyms. The gyms serve youth ages 10 to 21, and are run on a day-to-day basis by certified USA Boxing coaches. The mission of the gyms is not only to teach young people how to box and allow them to compete in local and national tournaments, but also to develop discipline and self esteem in the community’s young people. To date, two gyms have been opened — in Brooklyn at Flatbush Gardens and in Staten Island at the Park Hill Apartments. The Foundation is in the process of opening two new locations- one in Brownsville, Brooklyn and the other in The Berry Houses, Staten Island.

Why do youth programs work so effectively? Children need attention and respect. What is unique about athletic programs is that they offer kids an arena where they can earn attention and respect by working as a team and using the skills they posses naturally and those they learn through the process.

According to the Institute for the Study of Youth Sports at Michigan State University, children who participate in organized sports not only do better in school, but also have better interpersonal skills, are more team oriented, and are actually generally healthier.

Participation in sports programs like basketball and boxing provide opportunities for children to demonstrate leadership and improved socialization, as well as the development of skills for handling not only success, but also failure.

Visit the Atlas Foundation online to learn more about our programs and to find out how to donate to keep these youth programs running as effectively as they are now. You can also “Like” us on Facebook for updates!