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The Healing Power of Coaches

Up2Us, Inc.


LA2050 will make possible “The Healing Power of Coaches”, a citywide effort to support and train coaches who will inspire the health and wellbeing of Los Angeles youth through PLAY. Our two-pronged approach will involve leveraging LA2050 support to increase the number of coaches working with youth in LA’s most underserved communities and to provide training citywide to all youth sports coaches who want to use play to impact the physical, social-emotional and academic health of young people.

Please describe the mission of your organization.

The mission of Up2Us Sports is to engage, train and support sports coaches to transform youth, programs and communities.

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • Central LA
  • East LA
  • San Gabriel Valley
  • San Fernando Valley
  • South LA
  • Westside
  • South Bay
  • Antelope Valley
  • County of Los Angeles
  • City of Los Angeles
  • LAUSD (please select only if you have a district-wide partnership or project)

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Expand existing program

What is the need you’re responding to?

When the impact of the coronavirus is over, LA youth will need to PLAY as soon as possible. Sports will have a major role in their healing process. Up2Us Sports would like to address this immense need for healing among LA youth by providing our nationally recognized “trauma-informed” coach training to schools, parks and nonprofits in every neighborhood in the city. Our training will help coaches to intentionally use the combination of physical activity, positive peer-support, adult mentoring and life skills development in sports to directly address post-traumatic stress and other social emotional issues youth will face as a result of self-isolation. What’s more, Up2Us Sports will also identify communities that are lacking coaches and leverage our federal AmeriCorps grant to recruit coaches for these communities. In the long term, we hope to address the larger need for leveling the playing field for opportunities for all youth to play regardless of their socio-economic status.

Why is this project important to the work of your organization?

Since 2013, Up2Us Sports has been supporting young adults to be coach-mentors in LA’s most underserved neighborhoods. To date, we have recruited more than 350 coaches who have served 37,500 youth. Up2Us Sports has also created partnerships with more than 80 programs across LA to help our coaches launch and/or expand sports activities in their neighborhoods. We have managed federal and state grants, including the DOJ and California Volunteers. We have created comprehensive systems to ensure that our coaches are background checked and that every coach receives 32 hours of training on sports-based youth development. In 2015, Up2Us Sports hired its first team of LA-based trainers who have delivered more than 40 trainings to 5200 coaches. Our training has received city-wide attention from the Mayor’s Office, the parks department, schools, and nonprofits. Up2Us Sports has also undergone two extensive evaluations that measured its effectiveness in supporting youth development outcomes.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?

Direct impact
Indirect impact

Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.

Our broader impact is to train at least 10000 coaches throughout LA and to place 100 trained and subsidized coaches in communities that lack sufficient sports opportunities for youth. Collectively, we seek to inspire more than 50,000 youth. With LA2050, these goals are achievable because Up2Us Sports will have the resources to establish a citywide strategy for coach training and placement. We believe this is critical not just because of the need for mentors post-Covid-19 but also because LA is the Olympic host in 2028. Ensuring that our city’s coaches are capable of helping our youth achieve their potential will be a hallmark for this city’s preparedness in demonstrating the best of sports on a global stage.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.

Up2Us Sports will define success through the following: 1) the number of coaches we train and support; 2) the impact of the training on changing coaching practices to encourage more youth participation and to foster social-emotional skills building; and 3) the impact of coaches directly placed by Up2Us Sports on youth engagement and mental health outcomes. As stated above, we anticipate a two-pronged approach for promoting PLAY that involves training existing coaches and recruiting additional coaches where needed. In both cases, measurement of success will involve key metrics around coach self-efficacy and youth outcomes. Using surveys, site observations and online tools, Up2Us Sports will determine whether coaches have increased competency for 1) addressing fitness and mental health issues facing their youth and 2) designing coaching practices that engage all of their players in physical activity and positive youth development. Up2Us Sports will visit key programs to observe coaches and offer direct support. Up2Us Sports anticipates that 90% or more of coaches will feel more confident and better equipped to help LA youth heal after attending coach training. In cases in which Up2Us Sports directly places subsidized coaches in LA neighborhoods, we will measure their success by conducting PACER Tests and pre-and post surveys on youth to evaluate direct improvements in both physical activity and non-cognitive skill building, such as resiliency and pro-social attachment.

Which of the play metrics will your submission impact?​

  • Obesity
  • Youth sports participation
  • Prevalence of trauma and adverse childhood experiences

Are there any other LA2050 goal categories that your proposal will impact?

  • LA is the best place to LEARN
  • LA is the best place to CREATE
  • LA is the best place to CONNECT
  • LA is the healthiest place to LIVE

Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?

  • Access to the LA2050 community
  • Host public events or gatherings
  • Communications support
  • Capacity, including staff