What was the motivation or defining moment that led to create this innovation? Tell us the story.
Our experience with youth sports programs has taught us that there is a serious dearth of volunteer coaches—particularly women—in low-income communities. In these neighborhoods, parents often don't have the free time or the flexible work schedules required to commit to on-going volunteer work. We also know that there are scores of motivated college students who seek meaningful volunteer experiences in their communities. College women, in particular, have a track record in giving back through volunteering to important causes, like mentoring youth.
Team-Up for Girls connects the need with the solution: we match committed and trained women volunteer coaches with the after-school programs and girls in low-income communities that need them. Coaching offers these women an opportunity to connect with youth, develop their abilities as leaders, and explore career paths that complement their passion for public service.
The impact they have on the girl athletes they coach is phenomenal! A woman coach is often the determining factor in whether or not a girl enrolls in a sports program and stays involved through adolescence, thereby reaping the benefits of long-term participation in sports. Unfortunately, women coaches only make up 10 – 15% of the youth sports coaches in America. Team-Up for Girls seeks to break down this long-standing barrier to true equity in sports by recruiting 750 new women coaches in the first 2 years so that girls everywhere can get into the game!
Please tell us about the social innovator behind this initiative
Lynne Lee, Associate Director of Team-Up for Youth, is passionate about gender equity and creating opportunities for girls through sports. She brings her expertise on social norm change and public education to the Team-Up for Girls initiative. Previously, Lynne served at the Family Violence Prevention Fund, where she created "Coaching Boys into Men"—a media campaign which invites male coaches to be part of the solution by teaching their players that violence never equals strength.