According to Dr. Esther Jenkins and Dr. Oliver J. Williams of the Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community, the community of North Minneapolis is disproportionately affected by violence. In 2010, the fifteen communities in N. Minneapolis comprised 18% of the City’s population but accounted for 60% of the City’s murders. Youth and young adults accounted for over 40% of the City’s homicides, with the majority of the victims and perpetrators residing in N. Minneapolis.
Clinical studies also show that sports and recreation programs can help youth establish lifelong, healthy, physical activity patterns. Regular physical activity can ward off life-threatening diseases; reduce feelings of depression and anxiety; help control weight and obesity; and build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints, according to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness.
The children in the city’s core must have the opportunity for a successful start in education and sport regardless of age, race, gender, family composition, income or community. In response to this significant disparity, Youth Sports will be created to provide the sports program necessary for North Minneapolis children to have equal opportunity for organized sports.
There are multiple contributing factors to the high rate of community violence in North Minneapolis neighborhoods and it remains unlikely that one singular agency or approach would substantially reduce violent occurrences. However, a coordinated community response supporting a comprehensive violence reduction plan would make a remarkable difference. By providing an opportunity for a host of community stakeholders to offer their individual expertise in a variety of fields, a community can build a comprehensive approach to violence reduction.
The Heritage Youth Sports Foundation will be a significant partner in a comprehensive violence reduction plan. The academy develops and delivers integrated learning programs through grade-specific sports and an academic curriculum dedicated to the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual development of our community’s children.