Making a commitment to shaping the lives of talented high school student-athletes.
WHAT IS GAMEBREAKERS?
GAMEBREAKERS is a student-athlete success movement designed to maximize the social value of sport and promote it as a transformative tool that can improve the development, confidence, and identity of minority student athletes. Through a series of interactive workshops, lectures, and fun activities, Brooklyn student-athletes will have the rare opportunity to network with and learn from their peers as well as influential people from the sports industry.
By participating in GameBreakers, high school student-athletes and coaches have the rare opportunity to mingle with and learn from their peers as well as influential people from the sports world. Through a series of interactive workshops, lectures, and fun activities, student-athletes will learn about the importance of mentoring and the instrumental role mentors play; get tips on becoming college athletes; receive insider knowledge of the sports industry; and hear stories from professional athletes and prominent college athletes about their own journey to manhood.
Coaches will have the chance to connect with other coaches, share experiences, and learn what their colleagues are doing to positively impact the lives of young black men. They will leave GameBreakers equipped with more knowledge and skills to be effective mentors, so in turn they can support the growth of young black male student-athletes on and off the playing field.
WHY IS GAMEBREAKERS IMPORTANT?
Coaches, by virtue of their position and proximity to high school student-athletes, typically become mentors and huge influencers in their lives. While coaches possess the knowledge to aid student-athletes, many of them need better tools to help these young men navigate complex life issues they face.
By properly equipping a significant number of student-athletes with solid social, physical, athletic, and academic skills, we believe we can produce more inspired citizens; improve the quality of collegiate athletic programs; increase the level of play of American athletes in the global arena; and create more qualified future sports executives.
GameBreakers intends to address and resolve those concerns by equipping both athletes and coaches with the tools, knowledge, and skills required for establishing fruitful mentor/mentee matches that promote overall life achievement.
WHAT SPAWNED THE IDEA FOR GAMEBREAKERS?
Back in April 2011, when UWANTGAME founder Joe Branch and Frontline Solutions founder Marcus Littles set out for a visit to Houston, Texas, they only had one goal in mind: to enjoy the Men’s Final Four. But a more remarkable thing happened. The men observed entertainment celebrities and sports stars fill the stadium and witnessed the sheer excitement of sports fans as they brushed shoulders with the elite and scored priceless autographs. Littles said, “What if we used this major sporting event as an opportunity to change the lives of young black men?” Branch was immediately taken with the idea.
Frontline Solutions partner Micah Gilmer agreed with his colleagues, but he also believed coaches were a critical part of the equation. As a cultural anthropologist who has doubled as a football coach, and whose doctoral research highlighted the untapped potential of sports as a youth development vehicle, he imagined an event that benefited black male student-athletes and the coaches committed to mentoring and building them as men.
The three men brought the concept to the Open Society Foundations. Like all inspired ideas, this one took on a life of its own. Soon, GameBreakers was born!