In its second full season, Massachusetts Track and Field Gatorade State Player of the Year, Grace Connolly, chose Youth Enrichment Services (YES) to receive a grant as a part of the Gatorade Play it Forward initiative.
Sports have seen a double-digit decline over the past decade, largely due to tighter budgets in communities, but young people that participate in sports are found to be happier, healthier and better students. Gatorade Play It Forward aims to assist youth sports programs in funding by empowering Gatorade Player of the Year recipients across the country to award local or national sports organizations with grants that help young athletes reap the benefits of sport.
“Gatorade is proud to award Youth Enrichment Services (YES) with a Play It Forward grant on behalf of Grace Connolly,” says Forrest Johnson, Assistant Marketing Manager for Gatorade Player of the Year. “We look forward to seeing Youth Enrichment Services (YES) continue to positively impact the youth of their community.”
“We are honored that Grace chose Youth Enrichment Services to receive the Gatorade Play It Forward Foundation grant. The funding will directly support youth in our Track & Field program,” says YES Executive Director, Bryan Van Dorpe. “Grace is an excellent role model for young people at YES. She shows them that they can achieve their goals through perseverance and hard work.”
All 607 Gatorade State Player of the Year recipients are awarded a grant to donate to the organization of their choosing. Each Player of the Year is then given the opportunity to submit an essay about why their chosen organization is deserving of a Spotlight Grant, which is a larger monetary award. Gatorade awards twelve Spotlight Grants, one for each sport recognized by the Player of the Year program.