As a former student athlete, my primary purpose in launching SAFEO was to provide a platform for young student athletes to voice their opinions about issues that concern them and their families.
As an athlete coming up in the 80s and early 90s, we didn’t have the Internet. We didn’t have a means to quickly access useful information that could improve our lives. I remember when Rudy Washington, then-president of the Black Coaches Association, asked me to join a panel of coaches to talk about the goals of SAFEO. Little did I know that I would be on stage with great sports minds like the legendary John Thompson, Digger Phelps, Nolan Richards and Dr. Richard Lapchick. During the conference, I learned a great deal from these guys. However what stood out most and had a life-long effect on me was when Coach Thompson, in a demanding gesture to the panel, said “we must teach our young athletes that “Information Is Power”.
That sentiment is the cornerstone around which SAFEO builds its programs to help young student athletes succeed. We are committed to providing them the best educational, career advancement, and health management tools that will prepare them for life after the ball stops bouncing, while also building life-long, positive character traits. Our offerings are intentional and specially-designed, with a focus on low income, inner city and other underserved young athletes and their parents.
Racial and ethnic low income populations are the last to learn about or receive services to mitigate inferior educational opportunities, lack of access to positive or professional mentors, absence of empowering career counseling, poor health, fitness, and nutrition, and community isolation. From our experience, not only do they seek a higher quality of life, but they also are eager to directly participate in improving their well-being. They simply need caring adults and “access to good information,” just as Coach Thompson prescribed.
At SAFEO, we made a specific decision to promote empowerment across everything we do. Our most recent “I Can Breathe through Technology” Social Media Empowerment Program, “IBELIEVEU” Sexual Assault Protection and Prevention Program, “Electronics for Education” Technology Donation Program, and “I Promise” Concussion Awareness Campaign seek to provide our youth an increased measure of control over their lives, as part of our branded messaging to:
- Raise Awareness
- Increase Educational and Career Outcomes
- Promote Safety and Security
- Advance Healthy Lifestyle Habits
So, join me and my dedicated staff, volunteers, interns and devoted corporate and non-profit partners as we move to shape the lives of our young athletes. Become a member today!
All The Best,
J. Laffeyette “Coach” Carter
CEO & Founder