As part of its 2016-17 community engagement initiatives, USF Athletics will again partner with Harper for Kids, a non-profit organization that administers a youth development program for children based on the philosophy of iconic UCLA basketball coach John Wooden and his famed Pyramid of Success.
Through Harper for Kids' school-wide assemblies and classroom presentations with partnering schools in San Francisco, USF student-athletes will speak to elementary and middle school students about the importance of developing character traits that will help them fulfill their potential and achieve success throughout their lives.
Harper for Kids and USF Athletics will also introduce a literacy component to its partnership this year, where USF student-athletes will visit and speak to children on the joys of reading. Additionally, USF will host a Harper for Kids Night inviting the kids from their partner San Francisco schools to one of its men's basketball games this season, along with a Youth Sportsmanship Day event in the spring.
"Harper for Kids has been privileged to enjoy this special partnership with USF Athletics for over six years," said Tim and Peanut Harper, founders of Harper for Kids. "USF coaches and student-athletes have been amazing role models to the thousands of kids we've reached in San Francisco. It's been an ideal partnership with USF Athletics knowing it's the same messages they're instilling in their student-athletes to help them reach their full potential, and then being able to bring the USF Dons into the schools with us and see them pass on this valuable knowledge to the younger kids."
"USF Athletics is pleased to continue our partnership with Harper for Kids," said USF Director of Athletics Scott Sidwell
. "The program offers the same inspiring and important messages we instill in our student-athletes on a daily basis. Our student-athletes are excellent role models for the young children of San Francisco who aspire to attend college and achieve success in their personal lives."
The first in a year-long series of classroom appearances is scheduled for Sept. 23, when members of USF's baseball program will speak to children at Chinese Immersion School at DeAvila in the Haigh-Ashbury district of San Francisco.
"Harper for Kids is a wonderful opportunity to build the San Francisco community one block at a time," said USF head baseball coach Nino Giarratano
. "It connects student-athletes and young learners in a very unique way. Coach Wooden's Pyramid of Success is a very simple and powerful message for all of us."
Said USF Director of Tennis Peter Bartlett
, "We are very excited to continue our support for the Harper for Kids organization. Tim and Peanut have done a wonderful job growing the organization in a smart and deliberate way. Our involvement has really been a growth experience for our teams and student-athletes.
"The Harper for Kids program and specifically John Wooden's Pyramid of Success gives our teams a wonderful formula to impart a great message to grade school children about the building blocks of character and success. In addition, it has taught our team and student athletes a lot about how they can be positive role models in the San Francisco community by speaking and meeting with grade school children and making a real connection to the messages that is being imparted by the Harper for Kids."
Participating San Francisco schools in Harper for Kids program include: Alamo, Chinese Education Center, Chinese Immersion de Avila, Claire Lilienthal, Gordon Lau, Robert Louis Stevenson, Sunset, Sunnyside, Our Lady of the Visitacion and Tenderloin Community.
Harper for Kids is one of many community initiatives USF Athletics will undertake during the academic year. Other community partners include St. Vincent de Paul Society, St. Anthony Foundation, University Ministry, St. Ignatius Parish, SF-Marin Food Bank, E-Hoops, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy and St. Peter's School.
The mission of USF's athletics program goes far beyond competition. USF's coaches and staff understand they have a strong responsibility to the individual growth of all student-athletes and are invested in the intellectual, social, moral, spiritual and emotional development of every person who wears the Green & Gold.
By embracing the department's Third Pillar of Success: Engage in the Community
, USF student-athletes gain a better sense of the community in which they live, make a difference in the lives of others and develop a passion for genuine goodness. It's though servant leadership USF Athletics is committed to the development and care of each of its student-athlete by fostering an environment that honors the Jesuit ideals of being men and women for others.
About Harper for Kids
Harper for Kids (HFK) organization was founded by Tim and Peanut Harper in 2008. The mission of Harper for Kids is to teach youth the important life skills that will empower them to achieve their personal best in life. HFK's youth character development program is based upon legendary UCLA Coach John Wooden's Pyramid of Success and his "definition of success", which he defines as: peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best you are capable of becoming. HFK helps K-12 schools throughout California incorporate Coach Wooden's definition of success and his Pyramid of Success into their character education so their students can learn how to develop positive character, make good choices and become caring, productive and positive citizens in their community.
University of San Francisco Athletics
The University of San Francisco is committed to excellence in athletics as part of a larger commitment to educating students in the Jesuit Catholic tradition. USF Athletics is built upon Four Pillars of Success that aim to develop young men and women in this tradition: Excel in the Classroom; Win at the Highest Level of Competition; Engage in the Community; and Become Leaders in the World. USF Athletics strives to develop programs of national distinction while providing its student-athletes with a world-class educational experience at one of the nation's leading Jesuit institutions. Educational opportunities, programs that compete at the highest levels of competition and student-athletes who become leaders in their chosen professions and communities are the cornerstones of USF Athletics. A charter member of the West Coast Conference, USF sponsors 15 NCAA Division I programs comprised of over 250 student-athletes. USF teams have won 10 national championships and two individual titles.