On Feb. 7 at the Police Athletic League Polo Grounds in Harlem, the Turn 2 Us program held its annual Sports Youth Development League basketball championship and awards ceremony. The league is comprised of eight participating elementary schools.
Turn 2 Us is a mental health promotion and prevention program in partnership with the New York-Presbyterian Ambulatory Care Network, Columbia University Community Pediatrics, baseball legend Derek Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation and local elementary schools. Led by program manager Dr. Evelyn Montanez, to date Turn 2 Us has encompassed over 12,500 students, parents, caretakers and school personnel.
Other community partners include the Mailman School of Public Health; the New York City Department of Education; CARING at Columbia: Children At Risk in a New Generation; the Police Athletic League and the Children’s Aid Society.
Turn 2 Us was founded in 2001 principally in response to the high rates of referrals from a local elementary school to New York-Presbyterian’s pediatric children’s psychiatric emergency room.
Its mission is to promote health and academic success in at-risk children, empower the entire school community (students, parents/caregivers and school staff), to engage in healthy lifestyle practices that promote well-being and enhance the mental health literacy of school personnel and parents/caregivers so they are better equipped to ensure youths’ progress emotionally, socially and academically.
The Sports Youth Development League serves students’ academic and social-emotional development as the Turn 2 Us staff works cohesively with classroom teachers to track student performance. In conjunction with Turn 2 Us personnel and educators, each scholar-athlete establishes individual classroom and personal goals with participation in games contingent on achieving their goals.