Later this evening approximately 2,000 guests will gather at D.C.’s Washington Hilton to join Fight for Children’s Fight Night, this area’s signature gala that has raised over $65 million since 1990 for the benefit of low-income children living in the nation’s capital. Fight for Children founder Joseph E. Robert, Jr., who passed away at the end of 2011 and who created Fight Night, would be especially proud of his organization because it has continued to evolve as it has matured. Under the leadership of president and chief executive officer Keith Gordon and board chair Raul Fernandez, Fight for Children has established as its focus ensuring that at-risk youth are afforded the opportunity to participate in high quality sports activities. The new strategic goal was developed in the context of evidenced-based research that shows that students involved in meaningful sports programs, compared to non-athletes, have 40 percent higher standardized test scores, are absent from school 50 percent less often, have an increased high school graduation rate by 11 percent, and are 4 times more likely to go to college.
In order to support this mission, Fight for Children has renewed its commitment as a granting institution. Recently, it announced its financial support for five local non-profits that are helping children become socially and emotionally connected, achieve academic success, and are working to set them on the right track for a successful future. The group estimates that more than 4,250 students next year will benefit through these awards. The grantees are:
Beacon House – According to Beacon House’s website, in addition to its after-school academic mentoring program, it “engages over 300 boys and girls annually in an award-winning athletics program which reinforces the importance of school and the prioritization of education.”
DC Scores – Through soccer, poetry writing, and community service-learning, DC Scores provides an after-school program for over 2,800 third through eighth grade students in the nation’s capital.
Student-Athletes Organized to Understand Leadership – The grant allows approximately 100 ninth through twelfth grade students’ participation in SOUL’s College Access Study Hall (CASH) program. Tutors, athletic trainers, and others work to break the cycle of poverty for low-income student athletes.
Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy – Through WNYBA’s YBA summer and after-schools program, 840 six to twelve your old students living in Wards 5, 7, and 8 play baseball and softball and are provided with mentors.
Washington Tennis and Educational Foundation – For children living in Ward 7, WTEF engages 150 first through twelfth grade students in its two decades old Center for Excellence program involving the playing of tennis and other educational activities.
Tonight we will celebrate the excellent work being performed by these entities and others, raise more money for under-served youth in our city, and have a great time. Joe Robert would not want it any other way.