Message From Ron
My family and I established a partnership with the United Way of Camden County more than 10 years ago – the Jaws Youth Fund. The United Way Jaws Youth Fund (JYF) has delivered more than $3 million in 10 years to more than 100 non-profit organizations providing varied services to children ranging from the ages of 7-18.
While we have experienced much success, there is much more that needs to be done to address the challenges faced by at-risk children. We have decided that the time is appropriate to expand the reach of JYF and refine the focus.
There is an issue of great importance to me personally, to the United Way and to the National Football League – the epidemic of childhood obesity.
The facts surrounding childhood obesity are startling. Nearly one in three children and teens in the U.S. are obese or overweight. That is more than 23 million youth. In the last two decades, the rate of overweight children has doubled.
We know that youth who are overweight or obese are more likely to have health risk factors associated to cardiovascular disease such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type II diabetes. In contrast, the benefits to good health translate to the classroom where studies show that fit students are less likely to have disciplinary problems and perform better on standardized tests.
We will use 2011 to refine our efforts to a platform of youth health and wellness. This transition includes a refined scope and mission, a broadened geography and a name change. Jaws Youth Fund becomes Jaws Youth PlayBook. Jaws Youth Playbook (JYP) will focus on a mission to improve the overall health and wellness of at-risk youth, primarily in the Greater Philadelphia Region. JYP will do this by raising awareness and advocating for the access to safe play and healthy choices, and supporting programs providing positive youth health and wellness platforms.
Transparency is important to us, and we want you to know that as part of our transition to an independent non-profit, we have committed 90 percent of our net proceeds for the first six months of 2011 to United Ways of Camden and Atlantic County.
Examples of Our Work
JYP will raise awareness and advocate for the access to safe play and healthy choices, and support programs providing positive youth health and wellness platforms. The proceeds from the JYP events will be awarded through a grant process; to projects like building a fitness room at a Boys and Girls Club, constructing a playground or fields in an under-privileged community, supporting farmers markets in low-income communities, etc.