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More about The Chicago Fire Foundation P.L.A.Y.S. Program

Since its inception in 1998, the Chicago Fire Foundation has been a leader in sports philanthropy. The Chicago Fire Foundation is continually seeking new opportunities to expand its impact and reach into the community. Due to the difficult economic situation, Chicago Public Schools (CPS), like many other school districts across the United States, have experienced significant cuts, especially for afterschool programming.

According to the Afterschool Alliance, more than 15 million school age children are unsupervised after school and those students are more likely to engage in risky and problem behaviors. Additionally, CPS is among the lowest graduation rates in the country. In 2011, in an effort to combat this epidemic, the Chicago Fire Foundation began exploring the idea of creating a proprietary after school program that would tie the sport of soccer to academic improvement for youth in Chicago.

After two years of research, planning, development, and creating strong partnerships, the P.L.A.Y.S. Program launched on April 1, 2013. This pilot program was implemented in eight of Chicago’s lowest performing schools to provide urban youth a better chance at academic achievement and future successes.