Scholar Athletes ‘The Power of Play’ forum focuses on youth sports opportunities

Pictured (l-r): Tom Caron, NESN; Kristine Lilly, Olympic gold medalist; Daphne Griffin, Scholar Athletes; Angela Ruggerio, Olympic gold medalist; Marcita Thompson, Boston Red Sox; Dr. John McCarthy, Boston University; John Fish, Suffolk CEO. Back Row: Steve Burton, WBZ-TV.

Scholar Athletes, the Boston-based non-profit with more than 23 high school zones across Massachusetts, brought together Olympic and former professional athletes, along with business leaders, for an important conversation on engaging youth in athletics last week. The forum, The Power of Play, focused on building equity to ensure all students in Massachusetts have access to supports and resources in order to level the playing field.

“Creating the space to bring together community and business leaders in our effort to support students across the districts we serve is an important piece of our mission,” said Daphne Griffin, Scholar Athletes executive director. “Today’s discussion is the beginning of what we hope will lead to an era of new ideas and new cross-sector partnerships to leverage the Power of Play.”

The event, held at Suffolk headquarters in Roxbury, included a panel discussion moderated by NESN host Tom Caron. Panelists included business leaders as well as Olympic and former professional athletes, including: John Fish, Scholar Athletes Founder and Suffolk CEO; Marcita Thompson, Vice President, Boston Red Sox; Angela Ruggiero, CEO and Founder, Sports Innovation Lab and Olympic Gold Medalist; Kristine Lilly, Olympic Gold Medalist; and Steve Burton, WBZ-TV Sports Anchor. Dr. John McCarthy of Boston University delivered a keynote address on the positive outcomes of youth athletic involvement and the opportunities that exist to address the play equity gap.

Scholar Athletes, established in 2009, supports academic achievement through athletics. Our Zones, located in 23 Massachusetts High Schools, are where our Scholar Athletes are coached, tutored, and advised. Scholar Athletes proudly serves more than 5,000 Zone members in Boston, Springfield, and Everett.