The transformative nature of sport, beyond the wins and the losses, can often be overlooked and underappreciated.
With that in mind, in 2016 Under Armour pulled together a team to understand the needs of Baltimore City Public Schools (BCPS) students in the company’s backyard, with the goal of enriching the lives of every student-athlete throughout the school district.
As a result the Baltimore Student Athlete Coalition was formed by Under Armour, the Baltimore Ravens, the InSideOut Initiative and the Fund for Educational Excellence to use the power of sports to transform the lives of student athletes throughout BCPS while promoting more equitable access to enriching activities, particularly sports.
This fall, the power of that partnership takes shape for the second straight school year as students, teachers and coaches begin the 2018/19 school year.
“Successful schools provide opportunities for students to explore their interests, with enriching activities both in and out of the classroom. They also create positive cultures where students have the confidence to explore those opportunities,” said Dr. Sonja Brookins Santelises, BCPS chief executive officer.
In 2017, BCPS launched a blueprint (www.baltimorecityschools.org/blueprint) that lays out how the district will build a generation of young people with the skills, knowledge, and understanding to succeed in college, careers, and community. Addressing the holistic needs of the student, including physical activity, was a critical component.
Professional development for athletic directors and coaches that began in the summer of 2017, being led by the InSideOut Initiative, is being put into action as student-athletes return to school and on fields of play this fall. The program promotes sports as a human growth experience and aims to create an environment where sports are education-based, ultimately becoming co-curricular rather than extra-curricular.
The Baltimore Ravens are funding the implementation of the InSideOut Initiative, which officially launched last summer at the Under Armour Performance Center in Owings Mills. The partnership represents an unprecedented and significant, multi-year commitment in support of Baltimore’s students and public schools.
“We are pleased to support this important initiative,” said Dick Cass, President of the Baltimore Ravens. “As our players can well attest, participating in sports builds character only when the coaches have been trained properly, and that is what this initiative will achieve.”
To demonstrate the value of sport and the company’s commitment to its hometown, Under Armour made a significant, multi-year commitment to the effort. Over 5,300 student-athletes have been outfitted in on-field apparel along with more than 300 coaches from 15 different sports. To support the entire school community, UA has also provided funding to upgrade and renovate school athletic and activity spaces through an open grant application through which any public school in Baltimore City may apply for support.
Additionally, each year Baltimore City Public School students will have the opportunity to design the “Baltimore Student-Athlete” t-shirt, part of numerous initiatives where, students directly engage with Under Armour employees. To date, more than 1,000 UA employees have volunteered their time in support of the initiative.
“We know that sport has the power to unite, inspire, and ultimately change the world, and we believe every young person should have the opportunity to experience the life-changing power of sports,” said Stacey Ullrich, Senior Director Global Philanthropy at Under Armour. “This commitment begins with the power of sport but ultimately we are investing in the entire school community because we know and proudly believe that education is at the center of every young person’s journey.”