Stanford University Football Program for At-Risk Youth Kicks Off Third Season

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StanfordWhat grand experiment could possibly bring together the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance (MDAA), Lockheed Martin and defending National Football Conference champions, the San Francisco 49ers?

It may have the makings of a summer blockbuster, but the three have actually united for the Youth Impact Program (YIP), a Stanford University initiative that allows at-risk Bay Area boys an opportunity to develop their football and STEM (short for science, technology, engineering and math) skills simultaneously.

The program, founded in 2005 by former NFL great and current MDAA chairman Riki Ellison, runs from July 8 to July 26 at Stanford University -- the third year in a row the Palo Alto-adjacent college has hosted the YIP.

This year, the program will serve 10- to 14-year-old boys, the majority of whom come from organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula and the San Francisco 49ers Academy. Stanford football players will act as student-athlete mentors, helping program participants both in the classroom and on the gridiron, while local teachers will be in charge of quarterbacking academics.

The YIP initiative seeks to help children develop English and math skills by merging traditional, in-class academics with football terminology -- complete with some on-the-field instructions.

In a press release, Stanford football head coach David Shaw said he is thrilled to be involved with the Youth Impact Program.

“It’s our third year hosting the program at Stanford, where we strive to positively impact the participants,” he said. “By teaching, mentoring and motivating them to succeed in the classroom and on the playing field.”