STUART, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The National Council of Youth Sports (NCYS) and American International Group, Inc. (AIG) are pleased to announce that SquashSmarts has been named the STRIVE (Sports Teach Respect, Initiative, Values and Excellence) Organization of the Year for its “kids first” approach to safety. SquashSmarts is a free academic and athletic mentoring program that keeps Philadelphia public school students in school, in shape and on track for graduation. The program utilizes the sport of squash to foster academic excellence, healthier lifestyles, leadership and achievement among students in grades 5 through 12.
Presented by NCYS and sponsored by AIG, the STRIVE Organization of the Year Award, now in its second year, honors youth and amateur sports organizations that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to keeping young athletes safe. During the August 30th through September 30th voting period, more than 13,000 votes were cast on the NCYS STRIVE website to determine the winning organization from the top five finalists.
“America rallied to select the top youth sports organization that has demonstrated a heartfelt passion, an enthusiastic commitment and a contagious spirit to help kids succeed in youth sports activities while implementing responsible and dependable safety procedures,” said Sally Johnson, Executive Director of NCYS. “With special thanks to our NCYS sponsor, AIG, this award recognizes an organizations’ commitment to kids’ safety and health, demonstrating to young people that Sports Teach Respect, Initiative, Values and Excellence (STRIVE) in a safe, fun environment.”
AIG is the exclusive sponsor of the STRIVE Organization of the Year Award. Its sponsorship with NCYS is part of the AIG “aHead of the Game®” program, a campaign dedicated to helping increase youth safety initiatives and awareness of the risks of concussions in youth sports. The campaign aims to educate coaches, parents, and young athletes on the signs, symptoms, and proper treatment of concussions, as well as appropriate return-to-play protocols.
“We are delighted that SquashSmarts has been named as the recipient of the STRIVE Organization of the Year,” said Susan Clarke, President, AIG Accident & Health, U.S. “The organization’s commitment to health, academics and achievement is extremely inspiring. We are proud to help honor an organization dedicated to the success and safety of young athletes on and off the court and help bring greater awareness to a sport that was recently rated the ‘healthiest’ by Forbes Magazine.”
The search for the 2013 STRIVE Organization of the Year Award winner began in May with a nomination period calling for youth and amateur sports organizations that have implemented at least three health and safety initiatives within their organization. The “Five for STRIVE” finalists were: SquashSmarts (Philadelphia, PA), Superior Track and Field (Superior, CO), Triangle Volleyball Club (Morrisville, NC), The U.S. Soccer Federation Foundation (Washington, D.C), and Wheelchair and Ambulatory Sports USA (Kendall Park, NJ).
SquashSmarts, the winning organization, works with students who are selected based on commitment, effort and attitude, not athletic or academic ability. Operating out of two facilities in North and West Philadelphia, students attend practices three days each week, focusing on SquashSmarts’ Five Pillars: (1) Academic Support, (2) Squash Instruction, (3) Fitness and Nutrition, (4) Personal Achievement, and (5) Leadership. Students also participate in competitive squash opportunities, community service projects, cultural outings, and special events. 100% of SquashSmarts’ high school seniors have graduated on time and have been accepted into college. During the 2012-2013 program year, 355 volunteers served 3,835 hours of service on court, in the classroom and for special events.
About The National Council of Youth Sports
The National Council of Youth Sports (NCYS) is well known for advocacy in promoting healthy lifestyles and safe environments for stronger neighborhoods and communities. Founded in 1979, the NCYS members comprise the Who’s Who in the youth sports industry. Its membership represents more than 200 organizations/corporations serving more than 60,000,000 boys and girls registered in organized youth sports programs. NCYS is a united voice for amateur youth sports, leading the industry in promoting and enhancing the value of participation through advocacy and education. The NCYS is the largest known organization in America reaching broad and deep into the grassroots of America’s heartland with a passion to create a better, more wholesome society. Additional information about NCYS can be found at www.ncys.org | LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/groups | Facebook: www.facebook.com/ncys.org | Twitter:@youthsportsNCYS
American International Group, Inc. (AIG) is a leading international insurance organization serving customers in more than 130 countries. AIG companies serve commercial, institutional, and individual customers through one of the most extensive worldwide property-casualty networks of any insurer. In addition, AIG companies are leading providers of life insurance and retirement services in the United States. AIG common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
Additional information about AIG can be found at http://www.aig.com| YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/aig |Twitter: @AIG_LatestNews | LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/company/aig | aHead of the Game: http://www.aig.com/aheadofthegame
AIG is the marketing name for the worldwide property-casualty, life and retirement, and general insurance operations of American International Group, Inc. For additional information, please visit our website at www.aig.com. All products and services are written or provided by subsidiaries or affiliates of American International Group, Inc. Products or services may not be available in all jurisdictions, and coverage is subject to actual policy language. Non-insurance products and services may be provided by independent third parties. Certain property-casualty coverages may be provided by a surplus lines insurer. Surplus lines insurers do not generally participate in state guaranty funds, and insureds are therefore not protected by such funds.