Beat the Streets is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit that uses wrestling as the vehicle through which young people achieve their full physical, cognitive, and social potential and develop into strong and effective individuals and members of the world. We work with middle and high schools in all five boroughs of New York City to provide a safe, positive atmosphere in which disadvantaged and at-risk youth can learn the essential life lessons of personal responsibility, physical fitness, education, and teamwork.
Beat the Streets aims to improve the lives and potential of New York City student-athletes through the benefits and skills acquired by participating in amateur wrestling. We believe that the sport of wrestling fosters an uncommon combination of character traits that lead to enhanced social and personal development, and ultimately to better life outcomes, in the youth we serve.
The Benefits of Sports Based Youth Development
Beat the Streets is a member of Up2Us, a coalition of sports-based youth development programs whose members use athletics to address the most critical challenges facing young people in America: childhood obesity, academic failure, and the pressure to engage in high-risk activities like gang participation and drug abuse. It has been well-documented that sports-based youth programs lead to the exhibition of positive social behaviors, sportsmanship, and moral reasoning while reducing anti-social and criminal behaviors. At the same time that participation in sports lowers a child’s risk of dropping out of school or becoming incarcerated, it creates an increased sense of personal responsibility, social belonging, and ultimately results in greater adult career achievement1.
Research has revealed that youth sports programs can have significant effects on the lives of participants: reduced Body Mass Index, improved academic performance, and significantly higher graduation rates are a few of the benefits linked to engagement in sports programs. Emotional and social health follow suit: it is inspiring to see positive changes occur in a youth’s outlook, such as the shifted attitude toward body image experienced by girls following their participation in sports2. While traditional sports programs foster competition with the intent to win, Beat the Streets and fellow Up2Us organizations view sports as a collaborative opportunity for positive youth development in domains extending far beyond athletics.