SANBORN, N.Y. — Niagara University has received funding to help boost youth athletic programs in Western New York.
The university received a $569,100 grant from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. The money will help support Niagara University's goal to establish a group of coaches to serve all youth populations in our region. There will be a special focus on communities that do not have similar opportunities to participate in youth sports programs.
The program is called 'Project Play Western New York Cornerstone Program.' It is a training program for coaches that uses not just in-person and online training, but also mobile 'Social-Emotional Learning' platforms to educate coaches and youth sports leaders.
The program's goal is to bring kids and families back to sports by giving tools and support to coaches and helping engage parents to make youth sports more enjoyable for everyone.
“Youth sports participation should be a fun experience, a shared family memory, and a valuable part of a child’s athletic and emotional development,” said Bridget Niland, dean of Niagara University’s College of Hospitality, Sport and Tourism Management, who will oversee the program in partnership with PPWNY. “Through participation in sports, children get better at making friends and develop greater self-esteem, confidence, and social skills. The Cornerstone Program supports organizations, coaches, and families recognize and promote the lifetime value sport provides to children.”
Several organizations have committed to participating in the program including the Buffalo Bills, the Buffalo Sabres, the Rich Family Foundation, the Susan Crown Exchange, the Buffalo Police Athletic League, the Buffalo-Niagara YMCA, the Diocese of Buffalo, the Gils Sports Foundation, Niagara Falls PAL, and WNY Amateur Football Alliance.
Training will be offered to more than 5,000 coaches of youth between 4 and 13 years of age across all of Western New York.