Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Role of Sports Stars

I found an article in Crain's Chicago Business about how Chicago Bear's player Israel Idonije has set up a charity to help inner city kids. This is great. I hope every professional athlete does this.

However, I'd like to encourage athletes and celebrities to think strategically about their role. This map is one that was created more than 15 years ago, when professional athlete signed the map to indicate support for an "adopt a neighborhood" concept" that we have been proposing.

The idea is that athletes adopt poverty neighborhoods each year, so that during the season, they can talk about their neighborhood, and the non profits in those neighborhoods working with kids, whenever they have a media interview, or when they write a blog article, or twitter.

Here's an illustrated essay that outlines this idea.

If members of the Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks, Fire, Cubs and White Sox each adopted neighborhoods, there would be a daily flow of attention and resources, to the tutor/mentor programs in each neighborhood, instead of just to a few high profile programs in a few places.

Just like great sports teams have great funding, well paid coaches and players, and great facilities, tutor/mentor programs require the same resources to connect with kids and influence the aspirations, habits and career directions of these kids.

It won't happen in enough places unless more people are strategic about how they get involved.

These are other blog articles that show how sports can influence the lives of inner city kids.

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