According to Ty Anderson, co-president of St. Stephen Bulldogs Football and Cheer,
their youth sports program is about much more than football and cheerleading alone. It is about helping young inner-city boys and girls learn about healthy life choices, hard work, and achieving goals in life.
Run by volunteers, the program does everything it can to keep the experience
affordable; however, football equipment, league fees, and other costs add up. Without
additional support, the program would be out of reach for many and some still struggle to afford the cost, but the program has never turned anyone away because they could not pay.
Coach Ty likes to say that their program is unlike any other in the league. They are a
faith based program whose primary objective is not how many games and/or
championships they win, but rather on providing a safe and fun environment with
positive male and female role models.
Examples of the things that make them different:
- No Child will be turned away because they cannot pay the fee or purchase
- Their coaches do not curse on the field nor smoke in front of the kids.
- The kids are treated with respect and never called out of their name.
- They hold a group prayer at the end every practice.
- On home games both teams gather on the 50-yard line and have a group prayer.
- Every child gets practice time and playing time.
- Weekly fun things like pizza parties, hotdogs and burgers etc. (for some of the
kids these the are the only hot meals they may get that evening)
Last year they were fortunate enough to absorb 37 new boys and girls from a team that
was folding which caused their participation numbers to unexpectedly and dramatically increase. Thankfully, a connection was made with First Christian Church and through our Wholeness Grant Ministry, our church was able to fund the cost for these 37 boys and girls to participate in the league.
The significance of that grant is that without it they would have had to do something
they have never done before…turn kids away. As a result, their 5-7 year old Might Mite team that might not have existed went on to win their first championship!
Their program is in its 6th year of existence with the participation numbers increasing every year. The challenge and need this year was to purchase new uniforms for the boys and cheerleaders to replace the 6 year-old ones that had seen better days.
Through a second Wholeness Grant Ministry, First Christian Church was able to provide the funds to make that happen.
Instead of having the player’s name on the back of their jersey St. Stephen decided to be different again by putting “Romans 8:28” there instead. That passage reads, "We know that all things work together for good[a] for those who love God, who are called according to God's purpose."
In the video below , you can hear from Coach Ty, see the boys and girls in action, and get the full story of how the grant funds were used and the difference they made - it really is incredible!
If you would like to learn more about St. Stephen football and cheer, including ways that you might get involved, please e-mail coach Ty Anderson.
The wholeness grant used to fund this ministry was made possible through your faithful financial support of our church and its ministries and help fund a variety of efforts to make our world a better place. You can find more examples of those efforts or apply for a grant to make the world a better place by clicking here.