January 2022

Sports Promote Brain Health and Social-Emotional Learning Growth


As the pandemic carries on into 2022, both the mental and physical health of our youth continue to suffer. Children and adolescents spent more time out of structured school settings, and less time staying active making them more susceptible to numerous health issues including weight gain and overall increased stress. Sport is particularly beneficial for youth facing adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and underneath the fun and camaraderie, sport can be used as a vehicle to combat issues like this. 

We’ve known for many years that regular exercise improves depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and other symptoms related to stress, but a recent ACEs study shows how exercise strengthens the brain and rewires it to cope with ACEs. Exercise keeps brain cells healthy by regulating the stress hormones released in the brain while improving memory and cognitive functioning. In addition to helping to heal trauma brought on by toxic childhood experiences, sport programs, in particular sports-based youth development (SBYD) programs, play a significant role in fostering critical social and emotional learning (SEL) skills necessary to succeed in school, careers, and life.

The 2021 Hello Insight comprehensive study, released by Laureus USA and the Allstate Foundation found that substantially more young people in SBYD programs develop SEL skills than those attending non-sports programs, with a particularly strong impact on young men of color and youth in under-resourced communities. 

These findings are particularly critical at a time where space, funding, and capacity will be limited as youth programming begins to reflect pre-pandemic activity. With participation rates down by nearly 84% in youth sports programs serving low-income communities (2020 SBYD National Survey, Youth Sports Collaborative Network), it is evidently clear that now more than ever, the children and families of Philadelphia need programs that not only focus on the physical development of a child, but also their mental, social, and emotional wellbeing. The Collaborative believes in the power of sport to provide a unique environment for positive youth development experiences. The work of the SBYD community that the Collaborative represents is critical and highly impactful on the youth of Philadelphia and we must expand access to these important programs.

Interested in learning more about capturing SEL Outcomes? Contact Becca Fagan at bfagan@pysc.org to learn about joining the Collaborative's Hello Insight Cohort.

Events and Opportunities

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The Collaborative Celebrates

National Girls & Women In Sports Day!

Join the Collaborative and our partners at Temple Athletics for an exciting evening of networking, socializing, and Temple Owls basketball!

Come cheer on Temple Women's Basketball as they take on the Wichita State Shockers and socialize with other members of the Women's Networking Group!

Click Here to Register! Space is Limited.

DEI Session: Understanding the Causations of Poverty

February 15th, 10 am-11:30

This training provides participants with a conceptual framework for understanding causations of poverty to enhance knowledge, skills, and best practices for working with impoverished populations.

Presenter: Jill Meriweather, M.Ed

Click Here to Sign Up

Girls On the Run Virtual Quizzo

January 27th, 7 - 9 pm

Join GOTR Philadelphia for some friendly competition with Philly's DJ Quizzy Jeff! You will enjoy three rounds of Quizzo, prizes, and a great opportunity to interact with amazing members of our GOTR community. All proceeds will benefit the Girls on the Run Philadelphia scholarship fund. 

Click Here to Register

Trauma-Informed Training for Nonprofit Leaders

Starts February 11th

The Center for Youth Development Professionals is offering a learning community is specifically for senior leaders that want to engage in conversation and learn alongside other leaders of youth-serving and nonprofit organizations about the topic of trauma.

Click Here to Register

Job Opportunities

Philadelphia Youth Sports Collaborative Program Manager

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Philadelphia Youth Basketball Development Manager

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Philadelphia Youth Basketball Finance and Operations Coordinator

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Philadelphia Youth Basketball HoopHers Coach

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Starfinder Foundation Impact Manager

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Starfinder Foundation Development Assistant

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Bicycle Coalition Policy Director

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Bicycle Coalition Education Programs Manager

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Students Run Philly Style Part-time Mentor & Driver

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