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Urban Initiatives’ mission is to empower Chicago’s underserved children to adopt healthy lifestyles, improve their academic performance, and build strong character through sports-based youth development programs. We maximize our impact by collaborating with parents, schools, and community stakeholders.
Work to Play is Urban Initiatives' flagship program that provides children in grades K - 4 with the chance to belong to a soccer team, regardless of skill level. Children are taught important lessons about health, character, and teamwork by their coach. Membership means two practices and one game per week throughout the school year. Ongoing team participation depends on meeting academic and behavioral standards, as measured by their teachers on a weekly basis.
Take the Lead engages the most promising and motivated Work to Play alumni in grades 5-8. Participants are nominated by their coaches, and fill the role of Team Captain on Work to Play teams. Through this opportunity, they learn the merits of leadership, academic persistence, and community service, all while navigating the significant period of early adolescent development. They participate in all Work to Play sessions plus engage with adult mentors in Team Huddles and Retreats.
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