Massachusetts Youth Committed to Winning, Inc. (MYCW) is a 501(c)(3) year-round out-of school time education-based athletic program for the benefit of low income, at risk, African-American youth (boys and girls) who are in grades 3 to 12 and live in Dorchester, Mattapan, Roxbury, Taunton and Brockton.
MYCW seeks to:
- Reduce the drop-out rate among African-American youth.
- Improve social skills of student athletes.
- Engage youth in community service.
- Build teamwork and leadership skills.
- Support transitions and education success among participants.
- Furnish student-athletes with the necessary thinking, communication, and problem solving skills required to thrive in a highly competitive academic setting.
- Realize the relative importance of athletics, academics and socially acceptable behavior, and their inter-relationships with each other.
- Maintain a sense of “self” through academics, athletics and the socialization process.
- Instill a sense of participation in, and responsibility for, our community at large.
MYCW provides adolescent males and females (grades 3-12) an opportunity to play organized basketball, while enrolled in academic and life skills preparation classes after school. MYCW does this through a host of interconnected programs: Tutoring and Test Preparation; Basketball; Summer Camp; Life Skills; Community Service, and Outreach (developing and maintaining connections to teachers and parents). As part of our program, our youth learn the importance of assuming a positive role in their diverse community through exposure from various professionals, including, judges, police officers, teachers, and doctors.
MYCW seeks to inspire, educate and prepare at-risk boys and girls of color with the necessary skills to become academic achievers, confident student athletes, and effective leaders. By emphasizing core values of responsibility and accountability, MYCW promotes and reinforces positive behaviors among program participants resulting in youths who are engaged and valued members among their peers and with their families, schools, and communities.
Research shows that sports are a critical force in youth development programs. These programs promote success, in part by giving youth the skills they need to negotiate obstacles commonly experienced by high school students in urban schools: structuring schedules, creating incentives, building confidence, developing positive adult and peer role models, and providing the motivation for students to develop future aspirations (DeMeulenaere, 2010). For MYCW youth, academic and social supports are equally necessary for their success. MYCW’s mission statement speaks to this purpose.
We gauge our success by measuring the academic successes of our student athletes. MYCW programming supports success in a variety of ways, one of which is through guidance at key transition points in the arc of a student’s education.
MYCW’s first cohort of 12 students graduated from college in the spring of 2014, with 90% of them achieving a four-year degree.