The Work to Play Program is Urban Initiatives' flagship health and education soccer program. In order to participate in the program, students agree to strive for excellence in the classroom as well as on the soccer field. This program uses a child’s natural love of sports, namely soccer, to provide whole child youth development opportunities. Specifically the program has four focus areas: physical fitness, health education, academic performance, and character development. Furthermore, Urban Initiatives invites students at the school sites we serve to join our free, fun-based soccer program regardless of skill level.
Urban Initiatives establishes a relationship with the administration and the staff at each of our participating school sites. These relationships are vital to the Work to Play Program's success because we rely on teachers to administer weekly evaluations - 'Work to Play' forms - for our program participants' work habits and classroom behavior. 'Work to Play' forms provide a rating scale for the teacher to comment on the child's attendance, attention to assignments, classroom behavior, and respect for others. The coaches then review them and any student who fails to meet the standards set by his or her teacher may be suspended from the program until the teacher's requirements are satisfied. Urban Initiatives emphasizes personal improvement, not absolute performance. The goal is to develop the student by using the soccer program as an incentive to convince the students of the connection between their education and personal growth.
In addition to education, Urban Initiatives emphasizes the importance of an active and healthy lifestyle as well as character development. At the end of each program session, after students exercise for at least one hour through soccer activities, health and character tutorials are presented and nutritious snacks are distributed. Each week Urban Initiatives coaches cover a health or character topic. They teach a lesson, lead a team discussion, and distribute an activity worksheet in order for students to practice what they learn during the program at home. The goal of the health education and character development components of the program is to provide 'kid friendly' reasons for why physical activity, a healthy diet, and positive character traits are important to their participation on a sports team and more importantly to their long-term development.
Overall, the Work to Play Program is comprised of three, eight-week seasons during each school year. Each week consists of three program sessions - two before school practices and one after school game. Sessions include at least one hour of exercise, a health tutorial, a nutritious snack, and a character trait discussion.
If you are interested in knowing more about the Work to Play Program please contact Tom LaClair, Work to Play Program Manager, at email@example.com.