Our Approach

 
Why Athletics?

Team Up Philly brings athletic programs to girls who would otherwise not have the opportunity to play, and has introduced participants to basketball, tennis, swimming, soccer, yoga, Pilates, martial arts…even fishing!

Girls who participate in organized sports are more likely to go to and graduate from college, have a more positive body image and report higher levels of self-esteem and lower levels of depression. They are less likely to be the victim of sexual or domestic abuse, engage in substance abuse, suffer from eating disorders and have unintended pregnancies. Learning new skills and gaining physical strength and stamina also add to a child’s self-esteem. Being part of a supportive team is a powerful ally in life, particularly for adolescent and teen girls.

And yet, adolescent girls today are the least active segment of the American population. They participate in organized sports at lower rates, drop out of programs earlier, and worse, have fewer opportunities even to play.

 

Character Development

At the heart of all Team Up Philly programs is a focus on respecting self and others.

A growing body of research suggests that the qualities that matter most in determining a child’s future success are character traits such as perseverance, curiosity, optimism, resilience and self-control. Team Up Philly programs include character-building activities that help to develop these traits, build a healthy self and positive group dynamic. In our all-girls programs, we use the GoGirlGo! curriculum designed by the Women’s Sports Foundation, founded by Billie Jean King. Our goal is to help girls learn to stand for themselves and with each other.

 

Fitness & Nutrition Education

Team Up Philly provides healthful snack and nutrition education to participants in all of of our programs.

Did you know that one 12 oz. can of soda has up to 40 grams of sugar? Athletes in Team Up Philly programs do: we are a “Soda Free Zone”! One in three kids in the United States is overweight or obese, putting this generation at risk to be the first in American history to live shorter and sicklier lives than their parents. Overweight or obese children are at greater risk for type 2 diabetes, asthma, stroke and heart failure, and this risk increases in urban communities. Good nutrition is critical during the adolescent and early teen years when children grow faster than at any other time in their lives.

Middle school students in prime physical shape outperform their overweight and obese peers on both tests and grades, according to long-term research from Michigan State University. Of all factors studied, cardio-respiratory fitness was found to have the strongest effect on academic achievement.

Team Up Philly uses resources provided by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation (founded by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation as a response to the growing rate of childhood obesity) as part of our nutrition education to help this generation of young people make healthier choices and live longer, healthier lives.

 

Academic Support

Students who have positive academic role models become more educationally ambitious and, when paired with specific skill-training, more successful.

Team Up Philly dedicates two afternoons each week for tutoring. We hope to instill a love of learning, sense of curiosity and improved scholastic work habits in the students, and we work closely with them on their academic effort and results. Wonderful volunteers recruited from the community make one-on-one tutoring possible, and the relationships prove to be mutually beneficial.

In addition, Saturday Tennis participants spend half of their time off the courts playing math games and working on language and writing skills, and our in-school tennis programs include classroom sessions that combine values-based learning and academics.

Team Up Philly summer camp opportunities are designed to prevent the “summer slide” that disproportionately affects students from low-income neighborhoods and all include time and focus on staying academically fit.

 

Leadership training

Finding one’s voice and learning to use it in a group dynamic is a skill that leads to positive social interactions and personal empowerment.

Participants in Team Up Philly programs explore the difference between aggressive, assertive and passive communication in learning to find and express their own voice. Public speaking, expressing opinions, and learning to listen are some of the leadership skills explored by participants. Girls learn that there are many styles of leadership, and our programs seek to help them find their own.

 

Service

“Everyone has something to give” is a key value of Team Up Philly programs.

Team Up Philly expects students, coaches and mentors in our programs to treat each other and themselves with respect. We also learn about the needs of others in our communities, and seek to make a difference where we can. Our students have made blankets for children living in shelters, cards for kids in hospitals, dinner for families at the Ronald McDonald House and put together emergency kits for children going into foster care.