City Department of Recreation and Youth Services to Partner with Super Bowl Champ Roland Williams

City of Rochester

News Release

(Monday, June 9, 2014) – Mayor Lovely Warren announced today that the City of Rochester will partner with Super Bowl Champion and Rochester native Roland Williams on a new pilot program that uses sports to open the door to positive life-skills building for young men.

The Youth Mentorship and Empowerment Program will take place at Edgerton Community Center in August and will be open to all young men ages 13 to 18 who are city residents.

The program will provide an exciting gateway to receive positive mentorship, support and the tools necessary to become model citizens. It will instill social and mental development skills, such as self empowerment, personal accountability, social responsibility and community value. It will also introduce participants to existing opportunities for college and career readiness while giving them opportunities to meet caring mentors and role models.

The program will be open to the first 500 registrants. Registration details will be announced soon.

Collaborating organizations include: Beyond Athletics, Inc., Black Male Achievement Coalition, High School Youth Development, National Collegiate Athletic Association, National Football League, ROC The Future and Team I.M.P.A.C.T.

“When I was in Washington, D.C. earlier this year, I was privileged to be at President Obama’s ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ initiative which was conceived to inspire communities to work with their young men and boys to reach their full potential,” said Mayor Warren. “I was inspired to act when the President said that ensuring that young men can reach their full potential is the only way that ‘America can reach its full potential.’”

“We have all heard time and time again that Rochester has the lowest graduation rate for African-American young men in the nation, and the second lowest rate for young Hispanic men,” said Mayor Warren. “This is our most troubling demographic trend and we simply must use every play in our playbook to help these young men. There is no question that athletics is a tried and true way to connect youth with caring adult role models. The Youth Mentorship and Empowerment Program is not as much about football as it is about using something that we know is a compelling way to reach, support and strengthen our young men.”

The Youth Mentorship and Empowerment program will utilize the sport of football as a platform to connect 500 Rochester males ages 13 to 18 to positive adult mentors, life skills development and long-term success through:

  •  Implementation of the Rochester Youth Football Champion Academy, a 10-day educational and football skills clinic with a focus on life skills including accountability, team building, goal-setting, diversity training and conflict resolution.
  • Implementation of the Rochester Youth Football Invitational, a national two-day youth football skills competition and showcase.
  • Recruitment of 100 adult male mentors and implementation of monthly mentoring events, coordination of college-and-career-readiness opportunities including college, career and trade school visits; introduction to military recruitment strategies; and visits with business professionals and community leaders.
  • Distribution of special needs assistance fund to promote youth participation in structured sports by providing funds for equipment and sports gear.
  • A “Football Helps” promotional campaign to connect youth to local football programming.

Provision of training and coaching certifications to all Rochester Pop Warner team coaches and assistant coaches.

“I am proud to partner with Mayor Warren and the City of Rochester to launch this ground-breaking initiative to empower and inspire youth through sports,” said Roland Williams. “Despite the many challenges facing our young male population, I am confident these program can and will assist the City of Rochester's efforts to build positive and productive citizens. I look forward to getting to work."

“We anticipate that this program will lead to an increase in youth participation in Rochester football programs, an increase in youth participants’ level of physical activity, and a reduction in unsportsmanlike conduct among youth and coaches,’ said Mayor Warren. “It’s a win-win-win. Let’s cheer these young men on!”


News Media: For more information, contact Communications Director Christine Christopher at 428-7135.