World Sport Chicago uses its annual event to empower the city to end the cycle of violence in Chicago.
It’s no secret that Chicago is plagued by deadly gun violence and crippling poverty. Young boys and girls are roped into gang involvement at an early age, and it is seemingly impossible to free them of their situations. One Chicago-based nonprofit has set out to change that through the power of sport.
World Sport Chicago (WSC) was established out of Chicago’s bid to host the Olympic Games in 2008. The city used their funds to establish WSC with the mission of providing equal access to sport and play to underserved communities. They believe that youth sports can actually change the trajectory of entire neighborhoods, and their programming aims to connect kids to mentors, safe spaces, and support networks to help them avoid violence.
Just recently, WSC hosted its annual fundraiser, Spin to Break the Cycle. The day-long indoor cycling event brought over 700 Chicagoans together to break the cycle of violence and invest in the future of Chicago’s youth. Led by the city’s top spin instructors, participants rode in hour-long shifts, encouraged by a high energy DJ, followed by a complimentary massage and a healthy meal. WSC brought in dozens of its youth participants to meet riders and motivate them through the workout.
The event brought in more than $200,000, but one of the most impressive features of the event was the use of social media to market the event in real-time. The backdrop of the space included participants’ and donors’ tweets, Instagram posts, and Facebook statuses. The massive display encouraged riders and engaged those who were unable to participate that day. On the day of the event, WSC saw over 360,000 impressions online and over 450,000 in the week leading up to it. Their social media use generated a 20% increase in Instagram followers and 51% increase in Facebook page visits. One rider went live on Facebook, garnered almost 14,000 views and raised over $3,000 in an hour! WSC invested in their online presence, and it paid off in a big way.
World Sport Chicago’s signature event continues to support its life-changing initiatives in the city’s most under-resourced areas. Funds raised empower youth, and subsequently, entire communities to unlock their potential and create stronger, safer, and healthier places to live.
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ESPN dedicates a multi-functional sports court in Mexico for its community residents.
Civic leaders, ESPN, and Disney employees gathered in Transportistas in Chimalhuacan to celebrate the opening of a new court space built for he community. According to Beyond Sport, the project is led by ESPN, along with love.futbol and A Ganar. The hope is that the space will be used for people to learn job skills and fulfill their potential through the power of sports. Beyond Sport said, “The program was developed by award-winning organization A Ganar, which uses sports as a vehicle to provide communities across Latin America with training and skills that lead to employment and enables young people to achieve success in life. The court space was enhanced by a KaBOOM! playground built to inspire kids to get up, get outside and get active.”
Chimalhuacan was carefully selected based on need, population and social issues. This court will help create a safe space and will greatly enhance the sports opportunities in the area for children. Located in a neighborhood known for violence, this is one of the only safe spaces nearby. “ESPN is committed to providing resources to kids in Mexico City to play sports,” said Russell Wolff, executive vice president and managing director, ESPN International. “We are pleased to collaborate with love.fútbol, A Ganar, KaBOOM!, Deportivo Don Bosco and Street Soccer Mexico to build this court and playground in a community where there is a need, as it can truly make a difference.” This is a long-term community initiative that should provide positive opportunities for children and keep children safe. As a result, these community members will grow up with positive opportunities to engage in sports rather than succumb to potential violence.
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