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Sunday, October 24, 2021

ESSAIBI GEORGE ANNOUNCES ‘CITY KIDS WIN’ INITIATIVE ALONGSIDE KIDS, COACHES, AND WILLIE MCGINEST

 ESSAIBI GEORGE ANNOUNCES ‘CITY KIDS WIN’ INITIATIVE ALONGSIDE KIDS, COACHES, AND WILLIE MCGINEST

Patriots Hall of Famer highlights Essaibi George’s efforts to increase access to youth programming and good parks

Boston, MA — Alongside kids and coaches at White Stadium, At-Large City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George today announced her ‘City Kids Win’ initiative to ensure all of Boston’s kids have equitable access to the programming, athletic opportunities and parks to thrive on the field, in the classroom, at home, and in their communities. She was joined by special guest, Patriots Hall of Famer, Willie McGinest.


The initiative’s main objectives include creating an Office of Youth Engagement, establishing a City Kids Win fund, investing in Boston Public Schools athletics, improving parks and facilities particularly in our communities of color, and ensuring equal access to Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF) and City programming across the city.


“When I was kid, sports taught me about what it means to be a part of a team, to build community and work together to achieve our goals,” said Patriots Hall of Famer Willie McGinest. “City kids deserve the programs, equipment, quality parks and community to get them thriving on the field, in the classroom and at home. As a coach, a teacher and a member of our team for a long time, Annissa understands that when city kids win, Boston wins.”


“City Kids Win is about more than just sports. It’s about making sure kids have a place where they are supported, mentored, and feel like they belong. It gives our kids hope, guidance and inspiration,” said Mick Brunache, coach of the Mattapan Patriots and Founder of Nxt Era Panthers Youth Program. “Annissa gets that it’s not just about physical athletics, but all the benefits that come with being a part of a team—that sense of family and community.”


I’m proud to announce my City Kids Win Initiative with specific action items to ensure all of Boston’s kids have equitable access to the programming, athletic opportunities and parks to thrive on the field, in the classroom, at home, and in their communities,” said Essaibi George. “This issue is really personal to me. I saw it firsthand as a coach in East Boston. Athletics and being a part of a team means the world to our children and builds up our communities.”

 

City Kids Win Initiative


As an East Boston High School softball coach and a mother of four teenage athletes, Annissa recognizes the positive impact youth athletics and good parks have on kids, families, and communities. 


Participation in athletics and organized sports improves physical and mental health, builds social and leadership skills, and provides the friendships and community every Boston kid needs and deserves. 


But not all kids in every neighborhood have the same access to these programs, parks and open spaces, equipment and community and team-building opportunities.  


For example, in our communities of color, our parks and open spaces are not utilized or underutilized due to safety issues or disrepair. Further, for people with disabilities, parks are not welcoming places. In fact, only 5 of the City's 100+ parks have inclusive play equipment designed for kids with disabilities. 


The City Kids Win Initiative will ensure all of Boston’s kids have equitable access to the programming, athletic opportunities and parks to thrive on the field, in the classroom, at home, and in their communities.

 

  1. Create an Office of Youth Engagement
    1. Coordinate youth programming across BCYF, Parks & Recreation, BPS and Private Partners to ensure that programs are provided and accessible in every neighborhood.
    2. Provide technical assistance for all leagues with permitting and other requirements.
    3. Improve partnership with DCR and colleges and universities to ensure that Boston’s kids have access to every athletic field in Boston.

2.              Establish City Kids Win Fund of $20 million

a.              Work with foundations, colleges and universities, and major sports organizations to match the city’s commitment and create a sustainable long term funding model.

b.              Leverage funds to improve and expand programming in communities of color and for girls and women.

c.              Funds will be used to cover participation costs for youth, provide equipment, uniforms, provide stipends for coaches, and improve facilities so that every kid in Boston has access to youth recreation and athletics regardless of their means.

d.              Hold twice annual City Kids Win events where parents and kids can come and learn about all of the city’s athletic programs and offerings.


3.              Invest in BPS athletics

a.              Increase budget from just over $3 million to $7 million to ensure that every BPS school is providing an athletics program.

b.              Hire diverse coaches and athletic trainers with a focus on adding more diversity to reflect the student population of BPS, including gender, sexual orientation, and race. Many teams are under staffed, with a student-athlete to coach ratio as high as 20:1. We need to add quality coaches to increase the level of instruction that our student-athletes receive and give our kids more positive mentors on and off the field. 

c.              Ensure the City is supporting gender equity in athletics by expanding sports available to our young girls, especially at the earlier ages. Not only will sport options be expanded across all of our schools, Annissa will ensure that these opportunities also include gender affirming and inclusive participation. 


4.              Improve our Public Parks and Athletic Facilities

a.              Ensure that our parks and fields are well maintained and clean to guarantee that our kids have a safe environment in every neighborhood. This means no needles in the ground, suitable lighting, sufficient trash cans, and functioning water fountains. 

b.              Increase the City of Boston “field staff” who are responsible for maintaining all City fields and athletic facilities.

c.              Make intentional investments towards upgrading our facilities, including lockers, fields, and equipment. 

d.              Fully renovate and elevate the White Stadium to become the hub of activity for BPS Athletic programming, community youth sports, festivals and concerts.


5.              Create Equal Access to BCYF Community Centers and Programs across the City

a.              Engage alum teenagers and young adults of the youth sports organization to participate in the BCYF School Year Jobs Program as coaches and mentors.

b.              Conduct an audit of community center programming to ensure equitable distribution of funding and staff resources and access to programming and organized sports for youth and teens that is gender equitable. 

c.              Build a BCYF center in Grove Hall. 

d.              Ensure that when the Jackson Mann School and Community Center closes there is a plan to replace the BCYF Center in Allston and Brighton.

 

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