YQCA Program Goals

Young Quakers Community Athletics has the following goals.

For Penn Student Athletes:

  • Develop Penn student-athletes who are leaders in athletics, academics, and civic and community engagement
  • Provide more opportunities for local engagement that has a significant and positive impact on young people and families in the West Philadelphia community
  • Strengthen team culture and morale and enhance student-athletes' pride in Penn and Penn Athletics
  • Expand leadership and civic opportunities for Penn student-athletes
  • Increase awareness among Penn student-athletes of the critical needs and issues that exist in urban communities

Women’s lacrosse captain Tory Bensen, C’14 feels the team grew as much as the school children did. Whether they were teaching lacrosse skills, leading academic activities, or chatting with the students, Tory realized the Penn athletes were becoming closer as a team – and so were their young counterparts. The experience also helped the communication major sharpen her career focus. She understands even more now that not all children have access to the same academic opportunities, and she hopes to one day work for an organization that promotes educational equality.

For West Philadelphia students:

  1. Create sports participation and competition opportunities 
  2. Create a student-athlete culture within partner University-Assisted Community Schools that (a) strengthens school pride and (b) Improves school attendance and academic performance by integrating sports into the curricula
  3. Improve fitness and health
  4. Establish and nurture a college-going culture
  5. Expand leadership and civic opportunities

Below are student responses to the question 'How would you describe Young Quakers to someone who isn't apart of the program?':

"Through Young Quakers, I learned how to play lacrosse, but I also learned how to show sportsmanship by being respectful to others, not being a sore loser, and playing fair." (Young Quaker Spring 2017)

"I would describe the Big Quakers as good teachers, even though they aren't teachers.  And they don't just teach us new things about our sport.  They help us out through our problems." (Young Quaker Spring 2017)

"I come to Young Quakers every week because I know that practice is going to be fun.  There's always going to be something.  Also, the Big Quakers are motivating and push me to be a better athlete and person." (Young Quaker Spring 2017) 

For Broader Impacts at Penn and Higher Education: 

  1. Create a cost-effective model that builds upon DRIA and Netter Center/UACS partnerships, human capital resources, financial resources, and infrastructures
  2. Support Penn’s overall outreach to its neighborhood and the broader West Philadelphia community
  3. Develop national models for the civically engaged student-athlete


All Young Quakers Community Athletics sports share the following components:

  • Regular athletic training by Young Quaker Community Athletics/Penn coaches and Penn student-athletes
  • Sessions that are scheduled at the school and at Penn
  • Sessions that include fitness training, skills development, competition, academic and mentoring time
  • Competitive games for the K-8 students with other teams in the region
  • Mentoring opportunities, such as those that focus on character building, promoting effort, leadership, responsibility, commitment, discipline, resilience, academic persistence, and college awareness

A typical Young Quakers session:

  • 4:00 p.m. – Academic and mentoring activities 
  • 4:30 p.m. – Fitness warm-up, sport skills development, team-building & competition
  • 5:30 p.m. – Dismissal

Annual Urban Youth Lacrosse Jamboree

Every spring, the Annual Urban Youth Lacrosse Jamboree brings together young lacrosse players from West Philadelphia and other urban communities to the University of Pennsylvania for a weekend of competition, team-building, enrichment, and fun. Players enhance their lacrosse skills while learning sportsmanship and teamwork. The university setting helps players envision themselves as college students and lets them work directly with collegiate coaches and athletes.