By: Northwestern University
Published: June 24, 2014
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Members of the Northwestern football family will take to the field this summer to participate in a different kind of football experience. Teaming up with Youth Impact Program (YIP), players and coaches will serve as mentors and teachers for a two-week long summer camp, while engaging at-risk youth in learning on and off the field.
The two-week camp will involve 25 Northwestern football players, 12 of whom will also work as teaching assistants in the program. Working as mentors Northwestern student-athletes hope to provide insight on not only what it means to be a Wildcat, but also what it means to be a student-athlete.
Earlier this spring, 65 students from the North Lawndale area of Chicago have already committed with sixty more students from Youth Organizations Umbrella (Y.O.U.) Evanston to come this week. The camp will be split into two portions each day with academics serving as the focus in the morning session and football programs being held in the afternoon.
YIP is a non-profit organization that provides an education-based program for urban youth to create a lasting connection to student athletes. The program focuses on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) curriculum, while providing support and guidance for character development, academics, nutrition, and social activities. By pairing youth with student athletes the program works to act as a catalyst to create a commitment between Northwestern student-athletes and middle school students that serves to inspire adolescents to achieve inside and outside the classroom.
Y.O.U. is a youth development agency that provides services and leadership to meet the emerging needs of young people and their families in our community. It is their goal that all young people acquire the skills, self-confidence, and opportunity to participate fully, freely, and responsibly in the life of the community.
The first day of camp will be Monday July 7, with closing ceremonies to be held on Friday, July 18. To end the first week of camp, on July 11, campers will spend time with the Chicago Bears at Halas Hall. Northwestern head football coach Pat Fitzgerald will also visit with campers during the session.
YIP was founded by 10-year NFL veteran and three-time Super Bowl champion, Riki Ellison. He founded the program in 2005 and to date it has helped over 3,000 young people through partnerships with colleges and universities across the country. YIP Board member Mark Matuscak was also instrumental in bringing the camp to Evanston.
On Friday, June 27th, YIP and Northwestern will host an Evanston draft night. In a the mock-style NFL draft, this celebration will have the 60 Evanston students selected and honored by being called on stage, posing for pictures with Northwestern Wildcats, and signing letters of intent to commit to the values and code of conduct of Youth Impact Program.