Today, UMPS CARE Charities was honored by the Aspen Institute’s Project Play initiative as a 2021 Project Play Champion in recognition of the organization’s newest initiative, the Official Leadership Program which trains underserved youth to learn leadership skills on and off the field. Project Play honors a select number of national organizations annually who are taking new, meaningful and specific actions consistent with Project Play’s strategies for youth sports.

Launched in 2013, the Aspen Institute’s Project Play develops, applies and shares knowledge that helps build healthy communities through sports. Project Play works with leading organizations to develop and share best practices and solutions to foster quality sports activity for all youth, regardless of zip code or ability.

Project Play Champions are recognized each year at the Project Play Summit, the nation’s premier annual gathering of leaders at the intersection of youth, sport and health. The 2021 Project Play Summit will be a virtual event on October 19-20.

“We’re proud to highlight our 2021 Project Play Champions, exemplar organizations working to provide high-quality sport and play opportunities for young people across the country,” said Tom Farrey, Executive Director for the Aspen Institute’s Sports and Society Program. “Each organization’s commitment to a meaningful action aligned with our 8 Plays will both increase the quantity and quality of sport opportunities.”

“We are humbled and honored that UMPS CARE Charities has been selected as one of the 2021 Project Play Champions,” said Jennifer Skolochenko-Platt, UMPS CARE Charities Executive Director. “Our newest initiative, the Official Leadership Program, is designed to teach mentorship, leadership and sportsmanship through the lens of baseball and umpiring to underserved youth. We launched this summer with three pilot programs and are already seeing amazing results.”

The Official Leadership Program is a six-week course which teaches teens in underserved communities social and emotional learning skills in the classroom in addition to instructing them on umpire mechanics on the field.

The goal is to create leaders on and off the field for the future and also help combat the crisis across America with a shortage of sports officials. Major League Baseball Umpires as well as umpires at college and youth levels participate in mentoring the program participants.

To learn more about the Official Leadership Program, click here

About Project Play

An initiative of the Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program, Project Play develops, applies and shares knowledge that helps stakeholders build healthy communities through sports. For more information, click here

About The Aspen Institute

The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. For more information, click here

About UMPS CARE Charities

Founded in 2006 through the compassion of Major League Baseball (MLB) umpires, UMPS CARE provides financial, in-kind and emotional support for America’s youth and families in need. The UMPS CARE mission puts into action our established creed, “Helping People Is An Easy Call.” UMPS CARE Charities, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization, provides VIP experiences for kids and families from various youth-based organizations, provides Build-A-Bear® Workshop experiences for children at hospitals across the United States and in Canada and provides college scholarships to children adopted later in life. UMPS CARE also has launched the Official Leadership Program to train teens in underserved communities to become leaders on and off the field.