At-risk youths targeted by program

This July, UH will be one of four college campuses from across the country to host the Youth Impact Program, an NFL-sponsored mentorship program targeting at-risk inner-city youths, which teaches mathematics, language arts, football and life skills to inner-city middle school boys.

This summer UH, along with Syracuse, Tulane and Stanford, will host the Youth Impact Program for middle school boys from July 5-29.

Between 60 and 120 boys will participate at UH, and hundreds more will participate nationwide.

“We decided to bring the YIP to UH because of their strong ties with the inner city communities within the city of Houston,” said Marco Impeduglia, YIP director, in an email interview. “UH has established bonding relationships within the local middle schools that we felt would be a valuable asset for our summer program throughout the whole month of July.”

This summer is the first time YIP will be at UH, but it won’t be the first time it’s been held in Houston. The program has been held at Rice University in recent summers, but YIP directors thought UH would be a better choice.

“We felt UH was a better fit for the entire Houston community, and there is a stronger connection between UH’s student-athletes and the local middle school boys,” Impeduglia said.

YIP maximizes its impact on the community by educating at-risk youth in order to prevent them from dropping out of school or becoming involved with gangs.

The program also prepares skilled young athletes for middle school and high school football programs they would otherwise not be involved in.

The US House of Representatives and US Senate have formally recognized the accomplishments of the program.

Three-time Super Bowl champion and founder of YIP, Riki Ellison, worked with Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, to partner with the Houston Independent School District, the Houston Texans and the NFL to bring the program to UH.

The program will be run by the department of campus recreation under the leadership of Elwyn C. Lee, Linda Buonanno of Campus Recreation, and Jay Parks of the department of campus recreation.

According to Parks, classroom spaces on campus will be used for the academic portions of the program and the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center field will hold the football components.

The Campus Recreation and Athletics Department at UH will select four middle school teachers who will recruit approximately 100 inner-city middle school boys who will benefit most from the program.

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