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Coach Tony Howard (far right) pictured with Oakland County Sherriff PAL Basketball Academy Program. 

Black History Month is a time to reflect on the monumental impact of Black Americans throughout history and recognize those who continue to make strides within our communities. The influence of Black Americans can be recognized on a worldwide, national, and local scale. Undoubtedly, Black people have had a great impact on the sports industry. Black representation in sports is essential to inspiring the next generation of athletes and sports enthusiasts. Specifically, Black coaches continue to shape the lives of youth by providing care, mentorship, and encouragement. 

I often reflect on my experiences working with Black coaches who nurtured my love of sports while empowering me to show up authentically. Coach Tony Howard, program director of the Oakland County Sheriff's PAL, was once my basketball coach. At 16, I was interested in developing my basketball skills and was introduced to Coach Tony, who encouraged me to join his basketball camp. As the only girl in the group, Coach Tony treated me equitably and with kindness. His gentle coaching style inspired me to push through to develop my skills while deepening my love for the sport. Coach Tony has touched the lives of thousands of youth and families for more than 30 years. His service to empowering youth in our community while fueling their love of basketball is commendable and worthy of acknowledgment. 

Thank you, Coach Tony and all of the Black coaches within our network who continue to serve and influence the lives of children in southeast Michigan. Your dedication to mentoring the youth does not go unnoticed. Your role is critical to influencing the next generation of community members, sports leaders, and athletes. Thank you. 

Greater Detroit Tennis Alliance

Lenora King, Tennis Director of People for Palmer Park, was recently highlighted in a WXYZ news interview segment for her commitment to closing the gap between Detroit youth and tennis. Project Play is proud to support Lenora and the People for Palmer Park to continue providing youth access to equitable sports programs while exposing them to tennis. Click below to watch the interview and learn more about Lenora's work and the program. 

Watch Here

Project Play has partnered with the Aspen Institute and the Power of Us, to help research and gather data within the youth sports community.

The Power of Us workforce survey is a national survey polling the youth fields workforce. The goal is to collect data and learn more about workers and volunteers dedicated to youth development in the U.S. The deadline to complete the survey is March 31, 2023. Please anticipate dedicating 20 minutes to complete this survey. CLICK HERE to take the survey.

The Aspen Institute requests your help collecting responses for the national State of Play survey. This survey seeks to gain data from youth regarding their sports and recreational habits. We encourage you to share this with kids within your networks. The deadline to complete the survey is March 15, 2023. Please anticipate dedicating 10-15 minutes to complete the survey. CLICK HERE to take the survey.

Help make an impact within our community! Your input is valuable and greatly appreciated.

Here's your chance to be recognized for all of your hard work and dedication to youth and the southeast Michigan community! Project Play in partnership with the Aspen Institute are currently accepting applications to be considered a 2023 Project Play Champion. Each year, the Project Play Champions program recognizes local and national organizations that are taking new, meaningful and specific actions consistent with the Project Play framework. Applications close on March 1. CLICK HERE to apply, today!

How to protect your kids when they play sports, according to doctors

While many children can get injured on the field, the numbers are mostly declining – and sports are important for their physical and mental health, doctors say. They explain how to prevent and treat sports injury in kids. Learn More

Resisting the Youth Sports Industrial Complex

The problem is that we have a Youth Sports Industrial Complex that forces kids into single-sport specialization before they hit middle school. It demands that children be involved in (expensive) club and travel sports programs starting in elementary school. Learn More

Tips to help sports leaders build inclusive environments

In inclusive environments, no one has to change to fit in. Coaches and administrators play a lead role in creating this environment to support athletes of all abilities, races, backgrounds, and identities. These tips will help you do so.  Learn More

Topher Scott educating others on consequences of early sport specialization

It’s a reality that young athletes grapple with every day. As players begin to stand out from their peers in a certain sport, travel teams and development coaches encourage them to pick that sport, dropping the rest of their athletic interests to focus on one passion. But that specialization isn’t always in the athlete’s best interest.

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Youth sports doom young minds: Where to go from here?

Studies have shown repeatedly that young athletes are highly susceptible to anxiety and burn-out, both of which often go unacknowledged. The focus needs to be making sure that each athlete has an extensive support system — family, friends, teammates and coaches — who prioritize that individual’s physical and mental health over their success, and who help that athlete to remember to prioritize themselves, too.  Learn More

Youth sports were already expensive. Now add inflation

Recent studies, conducted before inflation began impacting daily life across America, showed families spent around $700 a year on kids' sports, with travel and equipment accounting for the biggest portion of the expense. Learn More

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