Charlotte, N.C. – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) announced today that it is investing $150,000 over a three-year period in the Creative Player Foundation of West Charlotte. The foundation provides a sense of community and support for at-risk Charlotte youth through soccer and character building exercises, to help players become more disciplined, healthy and well-rounded leaders.
The Creative Player Foundation serves the Charlotte inner city and surrounding areas where the youth poverty rate is 36 percent for African American children and 39 percent for Hispanic children. Youth living in these areas have limited access and opportunities to participate in sports and other programs that provide them a supportive community of peers and mentors. Research shows that participation in youth sports improves physical and mental health, lowers crime and increases college enrollment rates.
“All children should have the opportunity to experience the sense of community, teamwork and leadership skills learned through organized sports,” said Mike Restaino, Blue Cross NC District Manager of Community Relations. “Through Blue Cross NC’s commitment to diversity, we want to remove the barriers that prevent children from pursuing the activities they love and invest in a healthier, more promising future.”
“This program is like water in the desert for the children we reach in the Charlotte inner-city,” said Daniel Araujo, Founder of Creative Player Foundation. “The investment from Blue Cross NC will have an enormous impact on our ability to provide a more promising future for the children we coach and mentor.”
Blue Cross NC’s investment will allow the Creative Player Foundation to expand programs in West Charlotte and help remove the socioeconomic and cultural barriers that prevent children in at-risk communities from participating in sports due to high costs.
According to a 2017 report, 35 percent of children in Charlotte elementary and middle schools are considered low socioeconomic status (SES) students. The SES score was based on the following factors: English language ability, family composition, family income, home ownership and parental education attainment. Most low SES students live in the center and western sections of Charlotte – the same area served by the Creative Player Foundation.
Over three years, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools selected for a once per week on-site program will receive afterschool activities both onsite and at the Creative Player facility. The afterschool programs will include tutors, snacks, soccer equipment and transportation for students. Within the second and third year of the partnership, 30 children will be selected to participate in a Creative Player soccer literacy summer program for a total of three weeks. To learn more about the Creative Player Foundation and how you can get involved visit the website https://creativeplayerfoundation.org/contact/.
About Creative Player Foundation
For over 10 years Creative Player Inc. has reached thousands of young soccer players in Charlotte, NC and surrounding counties with a highly acclaimed soccer learning system. Co-founded by Daniel Araujo and John Pietak, the mission of Creative Player Sports Foundation is to bring underprivileged children between the ages of 5 – 18 together to build community through the sport of soccer in urban Charlotte, NC. The aim of the Creative Player Foundation is to use soccer as a motivational tool to encourage children in impoverished areas of Charlotte to succeed in different aspects of their lives and to provide social inclusion. To learn more about the Creative Player Foundation visit their website https://creativeplayerfoundation.org/
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina improves the health and well-being of our customers and communities through innovative health care products, insurance, services and information to more than 3.8 million members, including approximately 1 million served on behalf of other Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield plans. Since 1933, we have worked to make North Carolina a better place to live through our support of community organizations, programs and events that promote good health. Blue Cross NC is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Visit Blue Cross NC online at bcbsnc.com. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.
 ECONOMIC HARDSHIP, RACIALIZED CONCENTRATED POVERTY, AND THE CHALLENGES OF LOW-WAGE WORK: CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA, NC Poverty Research Fund, Spring 2016
THE BENEFITS OF RECREATIONAL PROGRAMMING ON JUVENILE CRIME REDUCTION, National Recreation and Parks Association, 2014