In its fourth year of operation, the Tulane University YIP program is the longest-operating YIP program. This year, it served 105 at-risk boys. All but two of these participants described themselves as African-American or of mixed race; the remaining two indicated they are Hispanic. The program had 14 returning youth and was able to use these “veterans” as leaders in showing the “rookies” how the camp works.
Despite having now served nearly 500 boys in New Orleans, YIP is still only scratching the surface of need in an area that seems to experience continued challenges. Still in recovery from Hurricane Katrina, the school system in Louisiana was split, with a state-based takeover of failing schools. Over 100 low-performing New Orleans schools were placed into the state-run Recovery School District (RSD). All participants in the Youth Impact Program attend a school within the Recovery School District (RSD). More recently, New Orleans and its youth have had to deal with the lingering effects of the oil spill disaster, which continues to have ripple effects across the regional economy, adding further stressors and challenges to the youth already living in poverty and structurally devastated surroundings.
The Tulane program was founded by Riki Ellison and Senator David Vitter (LA). It was the second program established within the YIP family. Tulane University, the New Orleans Saints, and the community of New Orleans all work together to ensure the success of the Youth Impact Program at Tulane. Tulane is one of the most highly regarded and selective independent research universities in the United States. As a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Tulane is part of a select group of 62 universities with “pre-eminent programs of graduate and professional education and scholarly research.”
A YIP press conference in the spring featuring Athletic Director Rick Dickson and YIP Founder Riki Ellison announced the return of the program to Tulane. Highlights of this year’s program included a newly implemented Science of Football curriculum taught weekly in conjunction with the Tulane School of Science and Engineering. Students were given the chance to understand the basic dynamics involved in football and perform the calculations integral to some simple physics equations. The whole camp was lucky enough to travel to the New Orleans Saints practice facilities, highlighted by a speech by Saints management personnel and a showing of the 2010 Lombardi Trophy. YIP participants were also invited to a preseason Saints football game in August against the San Francisco 49ers.
Check out photos from the program here.