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UN Efforts in Sport & Youth Development

The United Nations and Sport for Development and Peace

The United Nations recognizes the importance of sport and its potential to create a better world. Sport is a universal aspect in today's societies and it is recognized for its humanitarian, development, and peace-building capabilities.

The UN defines sport as "all forms of physical activity that contribute to physical fitness, mental well-being and social interaction, such as play, recreation, organized or competitive sport, and indigenous sports and games." The United Nations believes that sport is a fundamental right. The UN Office of Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP) strives to ensure this right to children worldwide.

Sport provides an avenue for engagement, education and development....

For more information and learn about their mission, visit UNOSPD

Sport and the Millennium Goals

The Millenium Goals were commissioned in 2000 in an effort to combat some of the most serious problems facing humanity. The United Nations settled on eight goals to address. (link to other area on the website detailing these goals.)

One of the Millenium Goals is to achieve universal primary education. The UN has recognized the positive impact that athletics can have in the pursuit of this goal. The UN studies have shown that:

  • School sport programs motivate children to enroll in and attend school and can help improve academic achievement
  • Sport-based community education programs provide alternative education opportunities for children who cannot attend school
  • Sport can help erode stigma preventing children with disabilities from attending school

Sport and Millenium Development Goals

Additionally, many athletes, including tennis player Maria Sharapova and soccer players Didier Drogba, Ronaldo and Zinédine Zidane, are dedicating their time to champion the cause of the Millennium Development Goals. Using their celebrity status and social media networks, the MDG Champions support UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in mobilizing global action on the Goals. To learn more about athletes and their involvement with the UN, visit UNOSDP – Goodwill Ambassadors

To learn more about becoming involved, visit UNOSDP – Sport and Millenium Development Goals

The United Nations Goodwill Ambassadors

The UN relies on the support of many athletes to highlight key issues and bring attention to its activities. Olympians, World Champions, elite athletes and sport personalities volunteer their time to support UN activities. These individuals are given the title of Goodwill Ambassador, Messenger of Peace, Special Representative, Champion for Sport or other status depending on the UN entity who has appointed them. These athletes use their mass appeal to mobilize others into action in the hope of improving the lives of many.

To learn more about becoming involved, visit UNOSDP – Goodwill Ambassadors

Athletes United for Peace

Athletes United for Peace (AUP) is a nonprofit organization committed to promoting peace, education and friendship through sports and media projects. AUP is a member of the United Nations team of worldwide non-governmental organizations.

Throughout the organization's existence, AUP has used the positive qualities of sports to bridge cultural differences and transcend international barriers, bringing people together from all walks of life to help create a worldwide culture of peace.

AUP's teamwork philosophy fostered through partnership linkages with sports organizations, municipalities, educational institutions, law enforcement and other nonprofits has helped to improve the "quality of life" for people in communities.

These collaborative partnerships have enabled AUP to develop and implement alternative programs designed to aid in the development and growth of aspiring young people.

Taken from   Mission

Athletes for Charity

Athletes for Charity is a nonprofit organization headquartered in New York. Their mission is to serve as a charitable initiative dedicated towards encouraging the giving of time, financial resources, and information to improve the collective lives of disadvantaged youth, advance the common good and support the nonprofit sectors that benefit underprivileged and foster care children.

Athletes for Charity achieves its mission by teaming up with professional athletes, sports leagues and teams, various sports professionals, foster care agencies and related organizations, as well as volunteers and mentors, to empower and support the development of disadvantaged youth. Athletes for Charity is a volunteer based organization that relies on its most valuable resource, volunteers, to benefit youth.

Athletes for Charity's objectives as they relate to foster care, include but are not limited to the following:

  • Providing foster care teens with the necessary life skills and tools that they require to achieve successful and self sufficient lives leading into adulthood. Assisting with the recruitment of foster and adoptive parents, volunteers and mentors.
  • Joining forces with various professionals, communities, and agencies to address issues confronted by foster care youth.
  • Providing support to foster care agencies and related professionals in their efforts to better the collective lives of youth in foster care and those who age out of the system.
  • Supporting select organizations that benefit underprivileged youth with preference to those which focus on helping foster care youth achieve their fullest potential.

Additional objectives include:

  • Supporting the philanthropic initiatives of professional athletes who aim to benefit their communities while teaming up with the sports industry to present unique opportunities and incentives for underprivileged youth.
  • Collaborating with select middle and high schools to create incentives through the use of sports and challenge youth to excel academically to achieve successful futures.

Athletes for Charity's work range from the planning and implementation of football camps and basketball clinics for youth; holiday toy drives for underprivileged children; assisting with the establishment of athlete foundations and charitable projects; sponsoring youth groups to attend sporting events; coordinating athlete appearances; and planning special events which include youth and athlete participation.

National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes and American Red Cross Partner for Leadership Program

In 2007, the American Red Cross, the NAIA and State Farm Insurance established the innovative Red Cross/NAIA Collegiate Leadership Program. The program is intended to: exemplify core values of the NAIA Champions of Character program; inspire a new generation of Red Cross volunteers and leaders; promote diversity on Red Cross Blood Region boards of directors; foster leadership opportunities; champion a philanthropic cause; and impact local communities. Each year the program kicks off with two weeks of energetic training at Red Cross National Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Student-athletes acquire first-hand coaching, mentoring and professional leadership training presented by senior Red Cross leadership and NAIA representatives. They learn to organize successful campus blood drives, actively participate on a leadership board and take part in diversity and cultural competency training. Student-athletes receive scholarship support provided by the Red Cross and State Farm Insurance.

National Youth Activation Committee

The National Youth Activation Committee (YAC) is made up of young people from across the country who work together to promote school communities where all young people are agents of change. YAC members provide advice and counsel on strategies designed to reach other youth, engage in and promote Special Olympics activities in their home environments, communicate the initiatives of Special Olympics Project UNIFY, and network with other youth and U.S. Programs on a local, national, and global basis.


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