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LSU and Southern University Soccer teams Join Forces

LSU and Southern University Soccer teams Join Forces

Athletes for Hope University teams continue to show their passion by getting involved in their local communities. This past week, LSU and Southern Soccer teams participated in TopSoccer’s annual jamboree on March 10th, at Burbank Soccer Complex in Baton Rouge, LA. TOPSoccer is a community based training and team placement program for athletes with disabilities organized by the Baton Rouge Soccer Club.
Soccer players from LSU and Southern had the opportunity to assist TopSoccer participants throughout the jamboree including leading drills and cheering them on after plays. Along with our AFH U teams, this event was supported by BREC, The Louisiana Marathon, Raising Cane’s, St. Lillian Academy, Families Helping Families of Greater Baton Rouge, and The Arc.

Back to School and Giving Back for AFH U Teams

We are excited to kick off another great school year with our AFH U teams all across various universities. Teams from University of Virginia, University of Southern California, Michigan State University, Southern University, Tulane and Louisiana State University are back in school and ready to have another year of incredible impact in their local communities.

During the 2016-2017 school year, we made significant progress in streamlining AFH U. This progress is due to a significant investment of time and resources in measurement and evaluation, leveraging technology more efficiently, expanding our curriculum, working closely with on-the-ground program managers, and most recently, hiring an AFH U National Director to lead this program. We believe that we will continue to build momentum in the 2017-2018 school year as we expand and deepen our program impact at existing universities while we strategically grow AFH U in new communities.

Last year, we had 1,028 athletes involved in community events from 29 various sports teams. They volunteered a remarkable 2,283 volunteer hours in communities, which was a 2000% increase from our 2015-2016 year!

With over 29 different community partners in multiple states, we are proud to see the difference that our teams are having with such a variety of programs in local communities.

We are focused on impact and continuous improvement, and hear from athletes that their time with AFH U has an impact on them as well as the kids and communities that they serve.

From last year, student athletes reported:

• 88% increased their knowledge about community involvement.
• 92% reported being more likely to give back after their AFH U experience.
• 92% felt inspired after giving back to their community.
• 94% enjoyed volunteering this year.
• 95% felt a connection to the kids they volunteered with this year.
• 95% felt their experience was meaningful.
• 93% felt empowered to do more after volunteering with AFH U.
• 94% felt they had an impact on the children they volunteered with this year.

What we hear from student athletes and students has an impact on our work and helps us determine how best to proceed with the program.

“I thought that the program was terrific and I look forward to doing more activities through Athletes for Hope in the future.” –AFH U student athlete

“By having a student athlete volunteer with us, I learned to do different exercises and stretches to be healthy and physically active that will help in different sports.”-Student in program with AFH U athlete

Now, more than ever, we know the importance of getting student athletes involved in our communities. After the recent Hurricanes in Texas and now Florida, we’ve seen our professional athletes such as Houston Texans player JJ Watts and the Houston Dash give back time, talent and energy to elevate awareness and raise critical dollars for their communities. As we saw last year when horrific floods hit Baton Rouge and our LSU and Southern teams stepped up and lent a hand to support their communities, we are proud to say that our AFH U teams are poised and ready to help where needed. We hope all of our student athletes have a remarkable year ahead and we can’t wait to see all that you do!

AFH University Expands to USC

We have big Athletes for Hope University news. We’re officially in partnership with the University of Southern California. AFH U will work in tandem with McCall Hall, Director of Community Outreach at USC,  to give USC student-athletes an opportunity to give back to the greater community, while simultaneously providing invaluable life opportunities.

USC Women's Basketball
USC Women’s Basketball
USC Women's Soccer
USC Women’s Soccer

This week we presented to the Women’s Soccer team (2016 National Champions) and the Women’s Basketball team. We also did a special athlete talk to all 700+ USC student-athletes to get them excited about us coming in and doing individual workshops for them.

We will be back in Southern California this October to present team workshops and will work with the University to set up volunteering opportunities for the teams in the community. Thanks to the USC student-athlete community for your support and interest. We look forward to working with you all.

AFH University Student Athletes Make an Impact in Louisiana

As the academic year comes to an end, we want to highlight the efforts of our Louisiana AFH University teams have taken to help others this semester. Since January 2017, AFH Baton Rouge Teams (LSU and Southern University) have completed over 500 volunteer hours with a host of local schools and non-profits. The Tulane schools in New Orleans have all been trained and are ramped up for good things this year and next fall.

LSU now has 16 teams in the connection phase. Some of the highlighted connections include:

  • Softball is currently in season. They will be connecting with BREC Youth 360, Highland Road Community Park.
  • Cross Country connected with  Let’s Move Active School McKinley Middle School on February 24th. On March 3rd, the team volunteered at St. James Retirement Home. They made flower arrangements and delivered them to residents. On March 24th, the team visited Louisiana School for the Visually Impaired and participated in their Fan Day.
  • Track & Field participated in the Louisiana Marathon on January 15th. They also visited Children’s Charter on February 24th and engaged students in physical activity.
  • Women’s Golf connected with Let’s Move Active School, University Terrace on February 22nd.
  • Baseball is currently in season and working on team availability to make visits to Louisiana Key Academy in May.
  • Soccer is currently in season and plan to connect with Boys Hope Girls Hope in the upcoming months.
  • Volleyball has connected with Arc of Baton Rouge Inclusive Sports program for three consecutive Saturdays. On February 10th, the team participated in The Tim Tebow Foundation’s “Night to Shine”, a prom night experience dedicated to special needs teenagers. Two players of the team have committed to coaching a youth volleyball team at St. Aloysius School and spend 5 hours a week with practices and games. They plan to visit Glasgow Middle School on April 18th and 20th.

Southern University student athletes worked hard this semester to work in their community. Some of those connections include:

  • Softball assisted with registration and set up for the Louisiana Marathon children’s race on January 14th. Following their season, they plan to connect with the Miracle League on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.
  • Volleyball participated in the Louisiana Marathon children’s race on January 14th by cheering on runners and passing out water at the finish line. The team has made visits to Let’s Move Active School, Progress Elementary every Friday this semester. They have committed to make 2 hour visits on Fridays until May.
  • Soccer will be connecting with BREC Youth 360 and the Anna T. Jordan Community Center.
  • Baseball is currently in season. They connected with FLAIM Elementary on Monday, February 20th and completed a Let’s Move Active School visit.

Tulane is rocking on connections in their community as well. Some of those connections include:

  • Men’s Basketball hosted a 2 hour Special Olympics basketball clinic that went really well. They are looking to host more events over the summer.
  • Women’s Basketball is helping with the Tulane Unified 3v3 basketball league. This is our second year hosting the league, which spans 3 weeks of competition on Friday afternoons.
  • Bowling volunteered at a youth bowling clinic recently that aims to keep kids involved in after school activities to stay out of trouble.
  • Men’s & Women’s Track & Field have started helping with the Special Olympics track team that meets on Saturday mornings. The Special Olympics team is hoping to send some athletes to a summer games event in Hammond, LA and the Tulane team is getting the kids ready for the competition.
  • Swim & Dive started a Special Olympics swim team that has already met three times. We are trying to secure pool space to continue the team over the summer.
  • Football completed a “Day of Service” with the university on April 13th. Some groups cleaned up in Audubon Park, others planted trees, and some sorted food at a local food bank. They will also connect with a cause over the summer.
  • Golf is currently at their conference tournament. Once season is over, they will work with First Tee and host junior clinics over the summer and fall.

Thank you to all of our AFH University student athletes for giving back to your communities. We look forward to seeing your impact throughout the summer and through the fall semester


Athletes Celebrate Active Schools Week

In partnership with Let’s Move! Active Schools (LMAS), and in honor of the 60th anniversary of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, AFH athletes deployed across America last week to help kids go from #0to60. Kicked off by the reigning NCAA champions of UConn Women’s Basketball, our athletes took to schools and social media to inspire the nation’s youth to get at least 60 minutes of activity per day.

While Active Schools Week may have come to an end, AFH athletes will continue to be a presence in LMAS schools for the coming months, engaging with kids and teaching them the lifelong benefits of fitness and activity.

Athletes for Active Schools Highlights:

      • UConn Women’s Basketball visited Grace Academy and created a fun video
      • Bridget Franek visited Evamere Elementary in Hiram, OH
      • Amanda Hahn visited North Valley Military Institute in Los Angeles, CA
      • N’aithan Scott visited Pan American Charter School in Phoenix, AZ
      • Jordin Andrade visited Lafayette Schools in Seattle, WA
      • Vanessa Jones visited Extera Public School in Los Angeles, CA
      • Laurenne Ross visited Elk Elementary in Bend, OR
      • Kendra Chambers visited Indian Springs Elementary in San Antonio TX
      • Riza Zalmeda visited Union Ave Middle School with her tennis team from Seton Hall in South Orange, NJ and created a great #0to60 video
      • Danielle Scott-Arruda made an awesome #0to60 video with her daughter at their home in Baton Rouge, LA

Upcoming Athlete-LMAS Connections:.

      • Gary Morgan will visit Timbuktu Academy in Clarkston, MI on the 11th
      • Marisa Howard will visit Heritage Community Charter School in Boise, ID on the 10th
      • Jordin Andrade will visit Lake Grove Elementary School on the 5th
      • Samantha Johnson filmed our campaign kickoff video (link) and will visit her school this week


Thank you to all of the athletes who have given back during Athletes for Active Schools week by filming a video or visiting a school. You have helped encourage kids to get active, given them ideas on new ways to exercise and have inspired kids to be the best they can be in life.


UConn Women’s Basketball Team Partners with AFH U

There are very few college athletic programs that are synonymous with winning like the UConn Women’s Basketball team. The Huskies are on a quest this 2016-2017 season for their 5th NCAA championship in a row. Despite their quickly approaching season, the team took time out of their busy schedule to participate in an AFH University 1.0 workshop and took time to volunteer last week as part of the Athletes for Active Schools Campaign.


During the workshop, The Huskies discussed many topics such as their platform as college athletes and their role in the community. The Huskies then headed over to Grace Academy, which is a tuition-free middle school for girls from underserved families in Hartford, CT. During the visit, the Huskies met with a group of 60 girls as they shared one interesting fact about themselves with the students, spoke about the importance of physical activity, and then led the students through activities at various stations throughout the gym. The students took part in hula hooping, relay races, yoga, push-up challenges, relay races and more alongside their new friends.


Junior Guard, Gabby Williams, said, “It was super rewarding because the little girls reminded me of how I used to look up at athletes when I was their age. It’s awesome that there are organizations like Athletes for Hope out there that allow us to give back and show kids just how fun and beneficial being active can be. I could tell the girls really enjoyed themselves on Friday so hopefully they were inspired to find a sport or activity they can love and continue to do like we did when we were kids.”


The Huskies will continue their involvement with Let’s Move! Active Schools throughout the semester in an effort to inspire children throughout Connecticut to become more physically active. We are grateful for their efforts and look forward to working with these phenomenal athletes again in the future.