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Embrace is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization rooted in mobilizing college student volunteers to serve less fortunate members of civilian and military veteran communities. Founded in 2000 by CEO Sean Sheppard, Embrace programs are designed to connect college student leaders to San Diego’s multi-cultural community in the areas of social and physical wellness through service learning and volunteerism. The organization is built on the philosophy that serving less fortunate members of civilian and veteran communities brings people together - irrespective of their race, religion or cultural upbringing.
One of the ways Embrace brings people together is through the Game Changer program (www.ImaGameChanger.org).
Game Changer calls upon the NCAA, NFL, NBA, MLB, MLS, WNBA, NASCAR, UFC and major artists to allow for moderated focus groups (20-30 per month in each city) to occur at their arena, 3 hours before game, competition or concert time. The moderated focus groups are meant to allow members of the community, members of law enforcement, elected officials and members of the judicial system to discuss the issues that exist between and among them. The time is designed to give everyone in attendance the opportunity to be heard and listened to in a safe space. The focus groups are meant to educate, generate data on perspectives and changes in perspective with an end goal of bringing about changes in behavior, neighborhood watch, policy, procedure and law.
Participants (16 years old and up) from all walks of life are selected through a process that runs through local elected officials, local organizations and the police department.
Once each focus group concludes, all participants adjourn to take in the sporting/entertainment event together in order to spend much needed social/human bonding time together, time that is routinely absent from a typical citizen or police officer’s life routine. Game time is meant to allow for the participants to see each other in a human light, as members of one team routing for a common denominator: the home team.