Sport for Good New Orleans Growing in the Game

As Laureus’ founding patron, Nelson Mandela, stated, “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where there was once despair”.

Nelson Mandela’s words are a great reminder of the potential sport has to positively impact our young people and the overarching community in New Orleans! We know that sport used intentionally can improve social emotional growth, promote personal accountability, increase strategic thinking, and enhance leadership skills for youth. With the support of a strong network in New Orleans, Laureus USA and Sport for Good New Orleans will continue building strong and reliable opportunities for our youth and community to thrive through sport.

On Tuesday, April 16th, Sport for Good New Orleans in partnership with Pincus Family Foundation will host The Second Annual Growing in the Game event, bringing together local stakeholders – athletes, local businesses, government officials, school leaders, philanthropic professionals, professional team representatives, and sport-based youth development organizations- to come together and create space to grow this ecosystem for youth so there is greater access to quality sports opportunities.

Enjoying the event? Please take our short survey, so we may gain better insight into our community for future events & convenings.

To stay engaged with Sport for Good New Orleans, please reach out to our New Orleans Program Officer, Tiffany Aidoo (



Julieanne Lund Julieanne Lund is a dynamic leader known for community engagement and impactful programs. She is the Director of Community & Governmental Affairs for the New Orleans Public School District. With a background in public relations and leadership, she has excelled in roles such as Executive Director of Girls on the Run New Orleans. Julieanne holds a bachelor's degree in liberal arts and is recognized for her expertise in public speaking, leadership, and community relations. She is committed to mentorship and community service, making a positive impact in New Orleans.
Kate Mehok Kate Mehok has 25 years of experience in education serving the needs of urban students in public schools. Kate received a BA in political science from Haverford College and an EdM in Educational Leadership from Columbia University Teacher’s College. She began her teaching career in Baltimore, teaching math and science to 7th and 8th graders in Baltimore and later served as the Dean of Faculty for the Summerbridge program at Isidore Newman School. Kate attended graduate school at Columbia University Teacher’s College, where she earned her EdM in Educational Leadership, receiving both her Principal’s and Superintendent’s License. In 2003, Kate had the opportunity to put many of her theories to practice as the founding Assistant Principal for curriculum and instruction at KIPP STAR College Prep Charter School in Harlem before moving back to New Orleans to coach principals in New Orleans charter schools through her work at New Schools for New Orleans. In 2010 Kate co-founded the Crescent City Schools (CCS) charter network in order to build an organization to support and develop open enrollment charter schools that raise student achievement and prepare students for college. CCS currently operates three PreK-8th grade schools that serve 2500 students. As CEO, Kate brings leadership, vision, and a commitment to supporting the growth of all students in New Orleans public schools.
Chanice Holmes Chanice Holmes, a professional from New Orleans, is a mother, internationally recognized performer, educator, and friend. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia, and a Master of Science in Kinesiology from Louisiana State University. Joining Dancing Grounds six years ago as an in-school dance instructor for elementary to high school students, Chanice also served as the program coordinator for Dance for Social Change. She played a pivotal role in developing the current program curriculum, managing the program for four years, and honing skills in curriculum design, artistic direction, project management, and attentive listening to the youth's needs. Chanice believes in empowering youth as change agents who can transform their surroundings given the right support and opportunities to thrive. While balancing her professional life, she remains active in the art scene, currently dancing with the Kesha Mckey Dance Company (KM Dance Company). Through her career, she has trained and performed under renowned artists and companies like Urban Bush Women, Ballet Hispanico, Forsythe, Complexions, T. Lang Dance Company, Nicholas Leichter, Jesse Zaritt, and others. With an international reputation as a performer and choreographer, Chanice has toured with Solange and Peaches, collaborated with Megan Thee Stallion, and appeared on the Grammys with Jon Batiste. Sharing Dancing Grounds' values, she is enthusiastic about challenging oppressive structures and promoting collaborative, non-hierarchical leadership approaches.
Ismail El-Shaakir Ismail N. El-Shaakir is a school leader at Maxwell Elementary Middle School at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama. He started his career in 1997 as a 4th Grade teacher in Florida and transitioned to administration after 10 years of teaching. He has served in various administrative roles in Louisiana and Florida and joined New Orleans Public Schools in 2018. Mr. El-Shaakir is a graduate of St. Augustine High School in New Orleans and holds multiple degrees in education. He is also a music lover, avid runner, and cycling enthusiast.
Patrick Thomas Patrick Thomas is a native of New Orleans. A graduate of St. Augustine High School, where he lettered in Baseball and Football. He went onto Tulane University as a walk-on with the Green Wave Football Team. At Tulane, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology. In 2008, Patrick began his work in Education as an employee of Lafayette Academy, serving as the Head Football and Basketball Coach. In 2012 Patrick became the Head Football Coach at Esperanza Academy and would transition to coaching other sports such as Basketball, Baseball, Softball, and Soccer. Today, Patrick Thomas holds the positions of Culture Coordinator and Athletic Director at Esperanza Academy, where he still serves as Head Football and Soccer Coach. He has dedicated his professional career to the growth and development of New Orleans youth through athletics. He is a well respected Coach and Mentor in the city of New Orleans and will continue to work tirelessly for the success of our children.
Lowrey Cruz Lowrey Crews is the Founder and CEO of The 18th Ward, a nonprofit that promotes equity through high-quality sports and workforce development programming in New Orleans. He has a background in sports, coaching, teaching, and served as a principal in public schools for 15 years. In 2019, he started The 18th Ward to provide low-barrier access to youth sports and job experience for teenagers in all 17 wards in New Orleans. Since then, his work has been recognized by various organizations and media outlets.
Camille Baldassar Camille Baldassar is a ceramic artist who has been teaching art to both youth and adults since 1993. She has been working with at-risk youth since 1998. Camille is a 500Hr RYT YA-certified yoga teacher with trauma-informed and youth-yoga training. She has an MA in Organization Design and Renewal from Seattle University and an MA in art from Texas Tech University. In 2015, she co-founded YEAH! YOGA, a non-profit that provides yoga and DBT mindfulness tools to young people involved with the criminal justice system. Camille has represented YEAY! YOGA as a Propeller Accelerator fellow and as a member of the Laureus Sport for Good Coalition.
Tiffany Aidoo Tiffany Aidoo is a former collegiate athlete, sportscaster, and advocate for sports as a tool for youth development and social change. She graduated from Tulane University on a full athletic scholarship as a basketball player and gained recognition as a sports analyst for Tulane Women’s Basketball. Tiffany also co-hosted IWC Schaffhausen’s Chrono Challenge with Formula 1 legend David Coulthard and contributes to the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation USA team. An interesting fact is that she holds the record for the most 3-pointers made in a single game for both Tulane women's and men's basketball.
Kip O'Rourke-Brown Kip is a leading professional in the emerging field of sports-based youth development, possessing extensive experience in program design, delivery and evaluation, with a special emphasis on school communities. He has a BA in Political Science from UC Santa Barbara, and received his MA from New York University’s Steinhardt School in Educational Leadership, Politics, and Advocacy. An alumni of our Sport for Good New York City Leadership Council, Kip served as the inaugural chair from 2019 to 2021. His extensive work with DREAM Charter School, Play Rugby, and other SBYD organizations in the areas of program delivery and implementation eventually turned into successful grant writing and strategic fundraising experience. Joining Laureus USA’s team as the Senior Development Manager, Kip will continue to leverage his extensive grant writing and strategic program fundraising experience to transition into fund development.
Sara McLaughlin Sara McLaughlin is the Program Manager of Strategic Initiatives at the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation USA, an intermediary non-profit whose mission is to empower youth and unite communities through the power of sport. She has over seven years of non-profit experience, where she has been focused on grantmaking, grantee management, data collection, research and evaluation, and events. As a lifelong sports fan and athlete, she recognizes the unique power and ability that sports have, to uplift people and bring them together. Sara has also published several collaborative research articles focused on the power of sport in Social Emotional Learning growth, and the impact that sports initiatives like the Homeless World Cup have on participants. In her spare time Sara enjoys playing in intramural leagues with friends, volunteering at a local community kitchen, and exploring all that NYC has to offer.



5:00 PM Dinner & Networking Mixer
5:30 PM Welcome & Icebreaker Activity Pass To The Beat: 1. What is the most positive memory you have of sport? 2. How has sport changed your life? 3. Who is your favorite athlete and why? 4. What sport would you like to learn now and why?
6:00 PM Panel: The Power of Sport on Youth & Community Sport supports youth and communities to build a stronger bond with self and among each other. Oftentimes, we know the intrinsic value of sport but are not provided with the right opportunities or tools to talk about the deeper impact of sport. This panel will bring personal, practitioner-focused, and data-driven experience to the audience in a way that creates a portrait of what we know the power of sport to accomplish.
6:20 PM Q&A
6:25 PM Panel: Building Greater Access to Sport in Schools Young people exist in a system where sport and education are intimately woven together. Whether they experience sport on or off school grounds, it’s important for us to amplify the powerful impact of sport in spaces where young people spend most of their time. As leaders in your respective spaces, we want to consider innovative ways for more young people to access and benefit from sport in the ways they desire. This panel offers an opportunity to bring an innovative approach to offering sport at different tiers, such as competitively or recreationally.
6:45 PM Q&A
6:50 PM Closing Remarks
7:00 PM Event Concludes

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