FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Trang Hamm, tran...@gmail.com, (503) 780-1624
March 30, 2012
Local high school athletes, coaches, and youth development experts will gather in New Orleans for a student-athlete summit using sports to bolster young black males’ confidence, education, and positive self-image. GameBreakers, a summit organized by UWANTGAME and supported by the Open Society Foundations’ Campaign for Black Male Achievement, will take place on Sunday, April 1, at Dillard University. The event coincides with the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four Championship.
Several well-known figures from the sports world, including ESPN sportscaster Mike Hill, will be leading the summit’s interactive workshops and a panel discussion on personal, professional, and academic development. The panel, titled “The Influence of Sport on African American Males,” will feature leaders representing high schools, universities, athletic organizations, and professional sports teams, including Talman Gardner (McDonogh 35 College Prep), Vic Richard (New Orleans Recreation Development Commission), Bernard Griffith (Dillard University), Keith Gill (American University), and J.J. Polk (New Orleans Hornets).
“Athletics is an excellent platform for building up young men,” said UWANTGAME executive director Joe Branch. “Many have what it takes to play well and compete on the playing field, but off it, they struggle. GameBreakers is meant to help young men succeed not just in sports, but in the classroom, their homes, and employment.”
Almost 80 percent of black males participate in organized sports. Coaches typically become mentors and huge influencers in their lives and need better tools to help them navigate complex life issues.
“As a football coach, I know about that desire to reach young athletes and mold them into men,” said Frontline Solutions’ Micah Gilmer, who is leading the GameBreakers coaching workshops. “We want to address that desire by offering a series of workshops tailored to coaches.”
“Our school is extremely happy to join with GameBreakers and allow our student-athletes a second to none experience in terms of reaching the next level of success,” said Edna Karr High School athletic director Roch Weilbaecher.
UWANTGAME helps high school student-athletes reach their potential in academics, athletics, and personal growth through one-on-one mentoring relationships with successful former collegiate athletes. Serving as a co-organizer of GameBreakers is Frontline Solutions, a social change organization that is helping change happen. The Admiral Center and Tides also are supporting and collaborating on GameBreakers.