In 2018, with the support of the Heisman Trophy Trust, and in partnership with our KING Hoops basketball program, we created our first academic and life skill focused program. This program is designed to close the education gaps within the NYC educational system by providing academic support as well as a safe space for our student-athletes to connect with peers and mentors. Since 2018, we have served over 300 student-athletes with a 100% high school graduation rate and 92% of our student-athletes attending college.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we launched our first Youth Leadership Council, consisting of high school aged kids currently participating in one of our programs. The Council is aimed at providing participants with both leadership development as well as giving participants the opportunity to positively influence their own programs. Projects have included apparel design workshops, entrepreneurship, and peer mentorship opportunities.
As our participants continue to grow up through our programs, many are looking for internships and jobs. We have intentionally created a career development pipeline for our order participants to gain work experience through opportunities at Kids in the Game. We have had participants become summer camp counselors, join our marketing team as photographers, and even intern with our CEO! One last step in the journey of Growing up KING!
With support from the Manhattan District Attorney's office, we are one of 100 programs to be turning the light back on at gyms on Saturday Nights. In East Harlem, for 48 Saturdays throughout the year, we provide free basketball training and game play to over 60 kids per week, creating a safe space for middle and high schoolers to spend their Saturday nights.
In an effort to close our own gender equity gap, we launched our middle school based Girls Basketball program in 2022. The school based program is aimed at bringing programming right to girls and meeting them where they are.
In 2018, we made history by launching the first ever middle school Esports league in the US. Our innovative program combined video game play (NBA2K/FIFA) with physical play of those sports. Each participating school held weekly practices led by trained coaches and then competed against other schools in the league during game play matches.
Thanks to a generous donation from Kevin Durant during the COVID-19 pandemic, we launched our Real MVP scholarship fund focused on supporting single mothers and their kids. We do not believe that single parents should have to choose between basic necessities and providing their kids the opportunities to participate in sports based programming.
Summer Camp has been a core program at Kids in the Game since 2015. Our summer camp scholarship is aimed at providing financial aid to families across our 8 summer camp locations, ensuring all kids can continue to learn and grow during the summer months.
Whether it is for our competitive basketball program, KING Hoops, or for an intro to tennis class, we provide scholarships for sports programs. We believe that life's greatest lessons can be taught through sport and that should be available to all kids, regardless of economic status!