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

When she says YQCA changed her son’s life, Chanta Staples isn’t exaggerating. A reserved boy who likes a challenge, Clyde was tired of more ubiquitous sports like basketball and football. Chanta remembers wishing he had an avenue for having fun, being active, and learning new things. Then Clyde discovered lacrosse through YQCA. Chanta was thrilled with the pride he took in learning new skills, wearing his uniform, and imagining himself on a college team one day. Within a year, he went from never having held a lacrosse stick to being the team’s goalie. Best of all, he became more outgoing. Wanting to be like his Penn mentor, he taught his sisters and the younger children on his block the basics of lacrosse. His mother couldn’t be happier. “The fact that your son is teaching someone else is a very good feeling,” she says.

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