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49ers, Stanford Announce Partnership

Posted Jun 7, 2011

The San Francisco 49ers and Stanford University have announced a partnership to bring the Youth Impact Program (YIP) to the Bay Area. The four-week program was announced at a Monday press conference attended by both 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh and Stanford head coach David Shaw.

Founded by three-time Super Bowl Champion and former 49ers alum Riki Ellison in 2003, the Youth Impact Program invests in at-risk, below the poverty line boys between the ages of 9 to 12 years old through an intense program that combines academics and athletics. The boys will be immersed in a collegiate environment at Stanford University with daily time blocks focusing on language skills, mathematics and life skills, while also being instructed in football techniques. The Bay Area program will be attended by 125 middle school boys selected from the 49ers Academy, Quimby Oaks, Luther Burbank, Willow Oaks, and Fischer Middle School from July 5 to July 29 at Stanford University.

The life skills component of the program focuses on gang prevention, conflict resolution, health issues and leadership. The boys will also be provided on-campus meals, transportation and athletic clothing apparel. The program will utilize Stanford University facilities, staff and student-athletes, as well as middle school teachers from the local community.

“As a former player for the San Francisco 49ers and longtime resident in the Bay Area, it gives me great pleasure to bring a six-year proven program that has measurable impacts in math, English and life skills to disadvantaged youth,” said Ellison. “Through the Youth Impact Program, we have created great opportunities to change the lives of the participants. Together we are providing the tools, the support, the environment, the setting, the facilities and the people, to allow these young boys to dream big, be big, compete and become dream-makers in their own right and their own community.”

Said Stanford’s Jaquish & Kenninger Director of Athletics Bob Bowlsby, “We are very pleased and proud to be serving our community through the Youth Impact Program and enthusiastic to be partnering with the 49ers to provide football skills development and academic support to Bay Area youngsters.”

“The goal of the 49ers Foundation is to keep kids ‘Safe, On Track and In School,’” said Joanne Pasternack, Director of Community Relations/49ers Foundation. “This program is part of that mission. The Youth Impact Program invests in motivating boys between the ages of nine and 12 through an intense program that combines athletics and academics. The boys will get to play football, and they will also be going to into the classroom to build their academic skills. We are excited that the members of the 49ers family – coaches, alumni, ownership and more – will have an opportunity to work with the participants this summer to convey some of the skills they have learned over the years by coming out to serve as coaches in the program.”

Partnering with YIP to help facilitate the life skills portion of the camp is long time 49ers Foundation beneficiary, Fresh Lifelines for Youth (FLY). Executive Director, Christa Gannon, also a Stanford alumna, said, “FLY is excited to bring their unique approach to education and early intervention to the program to help further the goal of ensuring that the participants focus on goals and success versus following negative influences.”

In a written statement, United States Senator Dianne Feinstein said, “Now it its sixth year, the Youth Impact Program has mentored more than 1,000 young people from communities across the country. As a former mayor of San Francisco, I am proud the 49ers have teamed up with my alma mater Stanford University to bring this innovative and important program to the Bay Area and provide young men with mentoring, academic support, guidance counseling and character development. I congratulate Riki Ellison, the 49ers and the leadership at Stanford for working together to help motive, inspire and change the lives of at-risk youth in our community.”

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