The Need for Sports-Based Youth Development
Why I Challenge Myself Exists
ICM is working to more strongly connect students to their peers, teachers and school, increase their readiness to attend college and the workforce and to promote active and healthy habits.
- In NYS 36.7% of the 2010 graduating class met the new college-ready standard and only 21.4% of NYC public high school graduates “were deemed ready for college and well paying careers.” I Challenge Myself programs can provide opportunities for youth to authentically apply specific knowledge and academic skills. ”
- Research indicates that the “…strongest evidence supports direct effects of physical activity on cognition and …other plausible pathways such as connectedness with school, absenteeism and dropping out.” The study warns against schools and educational reform movements that “mistakenly believe that physical education curricular time should be sacrificed and reallocated to reading, mathematics and science. ”
- The NYS Department of Health reports that 30% of high school students in NYC are overweight and obese, with the highest rates among Black (12%) and Latino (10%) teens. At the same time there is no means of determining whether students in NYC public schools are receiving the mandated 120 minutes per week for Physical Education (PE) exclusive of dress time.
- A July 2009 Centers for Disease Control report titled “A Socioeconomic Analysis of Obesity and Diabetes in NYC” found that wide disparities exist in NYC’s poorest neighborhoods having the highest levels of obesity and diabetes. The report calls for “focused intervention with school-based nutritional and physical activity.” To enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of its efforts NYC “needs to begin primary and secondary prevention programs that target populations most at risk, which include Hispanic school children, particularly boys.”
- Obesity increases these children’s risk for health problems particularly cardiovascular disease such as Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol during their youth and as adults. (Centers for Disease Control. “Childhood Overweight and Obesity.”
- On school days, the hours between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. are the peak hours for juvenile crime and experimentation with drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and sex.
- Teens who do not participate in after school programs are nearly three times more likely to skip classes than teens who do participate. They are also three times more likely to use marijuana or other drugs, and they are more likely to drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes and engage in sexual activity.
 Otterman, Sharon. “Graduation Rate Rises, but College Readiness Lags.” NYTimes. June 24, 2011.
 Basch, Charles E. Healthier Students Are Better Learners: A missing link in school reforms to close the achievement gap. Equity Matters: Research Review No. 6. March 2010. Campaign for Educational Equity Teachers College, Columbia University.
 Testimony by NYC Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr. before the NYS Assembly Committee on Education Re. The importance of physical education in the New York City Public Schools. Thursday, Jan. 31, 2008. NYC Comptroller Press Office: http://www.comptroller.nyc.gov/press/testimonies.shtm.
 Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood/index.html.)
 Afterschool Alliance. www.afterschoolalliance.org.