Coach Across America (CCA) has come to Miami-Dade County, thanks to sponsorship by the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and funding by Mercedes-Benz USA.
Collaboration between Laureus USA and MBUSA will allow the training and placement of 24 CCA coaches in 12 Miami-Dade after-school sports programs benefitting 3,000 kids in 15 communities, including Hialeah, Liberty City, Little Havana, North Miami, Overtown, South Dade and South Miami Heights. Initially, coaches will be placed in programs at Quality United Education, Dade Lacrosse, Touching Miami with Love, Hope for Miami and Miami-Dade Parks and Recreation.
“We believe in the transformational power of sport as a tool for social good,” said Laureus World Sports Academy chairman Dr. Edwin Moses in making the announcement recently in ceremonies at northwest Miami’s Gwenn Cherry Park. “It is important for an area such as Miami to have quality coaches serving these kids.
They are mentors, community organizers and mediators, and investing in proper training and offering support for these coaches is vital to sports-based youth development, especially as youth violence and obesity escalate and school-based programs continue to be decimated by budget cuts. Initiatives like this are essential in America to fill the gap.”
On hand for the announcement was international professional golf star Gary Player who said the Miami announcement was part of a nationwide program that, with a $1.3 million national commitment from MBUSA to Laureus USA, focuses on training and placing 250 CCA coaches in sports-based youth development projects in underserved neighborhoods in five cities: Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, New Orleans and Miami.
Laureus USA is a charitable organization that supports projects across the U.S. to improve the lives of youth through sports. “Mercedes-Benz USA and our dealer partners have a long tradition of supporting and giving back to our communities,” said Steve Cannon, president and CEO of Mercedes- Benz USA. “When you combine that with MBUSA’s extensive involvement in highprofile sports events, this is an undertaking that really makes sense for us and provides a real benefit to youth across the country.”
Youth violence and childhood obesity are serious issues in South Florida. As recently as Sept. 8, three people were shot during a youth football game at the recently-reopened Gibson Park in Overtown. 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, 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. A recent GAO report confirmed that despite the important role of coaches, quality coaches are in short supply. 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 quality coaches in underserved areas.
“The positive influence coaches can have on today’s underserved youth is undeniable,” said James Kallusky, director of CCA. “The Greater Miami Area is a brand new market for Coach Across America made possible by the generous support from both Mercedes- Benz USA and the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation USA.”