The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has announced Camp Shriver at UMass Boston as one of 12 finalists for the 2019 Sports Award, an honor recognizing professional teams, individuals, and organizations that strengthen and serve communities through sport. Winners will be honored on November 7, during an awards presentation at the foundation’s headquarters in Princeton, N.J.
"UMass Boston is very proud to be the home of Camp Shriver," noted Interim Chancellor Katherine Newman. "It is a joy to see the campers explore our campus, learn new sports, celebrate milestones of athletic prowess together, and express their affection for their counselors. Camp Shriver is a very worthy recipient of this recognition from the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation and we will not be surprised at all if they win the big one!"
The Sports Award recognizes innovative and influential approaches to using sports to make communities healthier places to live. Approaches may include: helping children maintain a healthy weight; creating safe play environments; encouraging positive behaviors; eliminating bullying, abuse and violence; and expanding opportunities for children living in poverty.
"At the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, we believe everyone should have a fair opportunity for health and well-being. Through sport, people have the chance to use their bodies actively and to interact socially—both essential to good health,” said Richard Besser, RWJF president and CEO. “The Sports Award celebrates those who are using innovative approaches to make their communities healthier through sport. This year’s incredible finalists are breaking down barriers, connecting communities, and providing the space for health to flourish. We applaud them all.”
Camp Shriver at UMass Boston uses sports as a platform to address the social and economic barriers that prevent some children from engaging in activities that promote health and well-being. Bringing together children from low-income areas in Boston, half of whom have a disability, Camp Shriver improves the quality of life for campers with and without disabilities by promoting motor development, social skills, and positive peer relationships.
Through its unique approach, Camp Shriver helps communities become more welcoming and inclusive, so that all children can learn and play as equals.
"The road to an inclusive society begins with our children and there is no better way to bring children with and without disabilities together than through sports and recreation," said Gary Siperstein, founder and director of the Center for Social Development and Education at UMass Boston, which hosts Camp Shriver. "Camp Shriver over the past 14 years has been a national model for inclusive recreation. We are extremely grateful to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for their recognition of our work."
Also named finalists were the Chattanooga Football Club Foundation, MaliVai Washington Youth Foundation, Sloane Stephens Foundation, All Girl Everything Ultimate Program, America SCORES, Figure Skating in Harlem, Harlem Lacrosse, LA84 Foundation, Running Medicine, Tenacity, and United States Association of Blind Athletes.