Laureus Combats Issues Facing Denver Youth

Laureus Combats Issues Facing Denver Youth

Laureus Sport for Good Foundation USA and Mercedes-Benz USA
Team Up to Combat Issues Facing Denver Youth

Laureus Amabassador and Denver Nuggets Star Danilo Gallinari Visits a Local Elementary School to Highlight the Importance of Quality Coaches in Afterschool Sports Programs

Denver, November 12, 2013 –  Adams County School District 50 has the largest homeless population in the Greater Denver Area, where children lack access to quality afterschool sports programs proven to help keep them safe. The Laureus Sport for Good Foundation USA (Laureus USA), a charitable organization that supports projects in the U.S. to improve the lives of youth through the power of sports, in collaboration with Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA), the company and its dealers, is addressing the issue of youth violence in the district through their support and investment in a unique national coaching and mentoring program called Coach Across America (CAA), created by the non-profit organization Up2Us.

This afternoon at Sunset Ridge Elementary School, MBUSA, along with Laureus Ambassador Danilo Gallinari, a star player for the Denver Nuggets, will announce their support of the training and placement of CAA coaches in afterschool sports programs throughout Adams County School District 50. Laureus USA and MBUSA believe quality sports-based youth development coaches can play a crucial role in protecting kids by engaging them in constructive physical activities after school vs. turning them to the streets. Additionally, the funding will provide employment opportunities and relevant experience to young coaches in this tough economy. The projects where CAA coaches will be placed include: Colorado Rapids Youth Soccer and United States Tennis Association Adams District 50.

Adams County School District 50 has 19 schools with 80 percent diversity in the student population.   As a result of this partnership, this program will provide youth with a safe haven from issues such as violence and an opportunity for children to learn and develop their interest in tennis and soccer.

In 2012, Laureus USA announced its support of Up2Us’ CAA coaches nationwide, backed by $1.3 million in support from MBUSA, that served as an important catalyst in this widespread investment in the nation’s underserved youth. These efforts contributed to the training and placement of 250 CAA coaches in sports-based youth development projects in underserved neighborhoods in five U.S. cities: Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Miami and New Orleans. This year MBUSA committed additional funding to Laureus USA, totaling $2 million, and added new cities, including Boston, San Francisco and now Denver.  To date, the Laureus USA-MBUSA collabaration has impacted 90,000 youth in 15 cities.

“We believe in the transformational power of sport as a tool for social good. Today’s coaches go beyond the traditional sense of the term ‘coach,’” said two-time Olympic Champion Edwin Moses, who serves as the chairman of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation USA. “It is important for an area such as Denver to have quality coaches serving these kids. They are mentors, community organizers and mediators. Investing in proper training and offering support for these coaches is vital to sports-based youth development, especially as obesity and youth violence escalate and school-based programs continue to be decimated by budget cuts. Initiatives like this are essential in America to fill the gap.”

“We are a brand known for leadership, which means we try to lead by example in every aspect of our business,” said Steve Cannon, president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA. “Here in Denver, we’re able to show what the private sector can accomplish to offset some of the deficit in afterschool funding. We’ve been able to provide thousands of kids with a safer, healthier environment after the school bell rings, which for us is the greatest reward.”

A recent GAO report confirmed that despite the important role of coaches, quality coaches are in short supply.1 Proper coaching increases the chance of better grades, better behavior, healthier lives and longer life due to physical activity.

“The field of coaching youth sports is being professionalized by Up2Us. This means that we need to prepare coaches for roles that go beyond conventional approaches to coaching,” said James Kallusky, Director of Up2Us’ Coach Across America program.  “We believe that many kids possess an inordinate amount of unrealized potential and possibility, and that providing them meaningful experiences through sports with a highly-trained coach is one of the best ways to unlock that potential. Mercedes-Benz USA and Laureus USA are investing in more than youth sports, they are investing in a brighter future for many of the kids that participate in Up2Us’ Coach Across America program.”


About Laureus USA

Laureus Sport for Good Foundation USA ( is a registered 501(c)(3) public charity in the United States.  It is part of the Laureus Sport For Good Foundation global network, which includes the global Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, the Laureus World Sports Academy, and the Laureus World Sports Awards. Collectively, the Laureus global network harnesses the power of sport to promote social change and celebrate sporting excellence. Laureus champions the universal power of sport to bring people together as a force for good, pursuit of excellence, overcoming challenges, celebrating achievement, and winning against the odds.

About Mercedes-Benz USA

Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA), headquartered in Montvale, New Jersey, is responsible for the distribution, marketing and customer service for all Mercedes-Benz products in the United States.  For the nearly 50 years MBUSA has operated in this country, the company has been an integral part of the communities in which it does business and the neighborhoods where its employees live and work.  A common thread through its activities over the decades has been a commitment to nurturing leadership.  To that end, MBUSA places particular emphasis on initiatives designed to empower future generations, particularly those who are underserved.  MBUSA is dedicated to helping today’s youth develop the tools they need to reach their full potential and become the leaders and success stories of tomorrow.

About Up2Us

Established in 2009, Up2Us is leading a national movement to advance sports as a solution to the critical challenges facing today’s youth, including childhood obesity, academic failure and youth violence. Up2Us accomplishes its mission by uniting more than 700 sports programs that provide life skills development to this nation’s most vulnerable youth. In 2010, Up2Us launched Coach Across America (CAA) to provide its member organizations with well-trained, highly effective coaches. CAA is the first national program that challenges young adults to give back to their communities through a year of service as coach-mentors. This year, CAA is placing more than 400 coach-mentors nationwide, reaching 50,000 children. Up2Us is supported by Mercedes-Benz USA, the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation USA, Nike Inc., the Corporation for National and Community Service and the U.S. Department of Justice.

  1. K-12 Education – School-Based Physical Education and Sports Programs GAO-12-350, Feb 29, 2012
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