Coach Across America

Mercedes-Benz supports Miami Youth

Matt Geschke, Gary Player and Tommy M. Shi

Community-based coaches can help tackle the many issues affecting today’s youth. The Laureus Sport for Good Foundation USA (Laureus USA), a charitable organization that supports projects across the U.S. to improve the lives of youth through the power of sports, in collaboration with Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA), the company and its dealers, announced their support of Coach Across America in the Greater Miami Area at Gwen Cherry Park. Laureus World Sports Academy member, Gary Player, addressed the community kids and coaches at the kick-off event.

The initiatve in Miami – a new market for Coach Across America (CAA) made possible by the collaboration and generous support of Laureus USA and MBUSA – will train and place 24 Coach Across America coaches in 12 after-school sports programs, benefitting 3,000 underserved youth in 15 communities within the greater Miami area. These include: Hialeah, Liberty City, Little Havana, North Miami, Overtown, South Dade and South Miami Heights. Initially, coaches will be placed in programs at the following projects: Quality United Education, Dade Lacrosse, Touching Miami with Love, Hope for Miami and Miami-Dade Parks and Recreation.

The kick-off is part of a nationwide program that, with a $1.3 million national commitment from MBUSA to Laureus USA, focuses on training and placing 250 coaches through Coach Across America in sports-based youth development projects in underserved neighborhoods in five U.S. cities: Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Miami and New Orleans.

“Mercedes-Benz USA and our dealer partners have a long tradition of supporting and giving back to our communities. When you combine that with MBUSA’s extensive involvement in high-profile sports events, this is an undertaking that really makes sense for us and provides a real benefit to youth across the country,” said Steve Cannon, president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA.

The 2013 Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG

Youth violence and childhood obesity are serious issues in the region, and, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 12 percent of Miami-Dade County’s high school students attend daily physical-education classes at school (which is much lower than the state rate of 44 percent).

Community-based coaches can play a crucial role in developing character and keeping students engaged in constructive physical activities vs. turning to the streets. Proper coaching increases the chance of better grades, better behavior, healthier lives and longer life due to fitness activity. Laureus USA has selected Coach Across America as its delivery partner to supply more of these quality coaches in underserved areas.

At a time when state-wide after-school sports programs are suffering due to limited budgets, public-private partnerships like Laureus USA and MBUSA remain key to sustaining vital after-school opportunities. With the help of these CAA coaches, the Greater Miami Area will benefit from more opportunities for youth to engage in physicial activities and keeps underserved children away from troubles such as youth violence, drugs and childhood obesity.

Many of the Miami coaches recruited by Coach Across America will be college graduates from the local community such as Milton Lyles, a native of Miami Gardens who recently graduated from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Milton, a member of North Carolina’s men’s lacrosse team, was the team’s top long stick midfielder as a junior. He is now responsible for community outreach with the Dade Lacrosse partner programs.

“I see lacrosse as a wonderful tool to shape the lives of young kids from underserved communities,” he said. “I understand sports is a critical component in providing various life opportunities. The culture we create for our players will have a great impact as they grow to become our community’s future leaders.”

Photos courtesy of Getty Images

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