B.J. Futrell hired as Mentoring Director

Philadelphia, Pa. – Beat the Streets Philadelphia (BTSP) is proud to announce the hiring of B.J. Futrell as the new Mentoring Director. Futrell will join the BTSP executive staff, and work closely with critical partners: Penn Wrestling, Drexel Wrestling, and the Pennsylvania Regional Training Center to deliver mentoring to BTSP Student-athletes

Futrell was a resident athlete at the Pennsylvania Regional Training Center from 2016-2019. During this time, he served as a coach and mentor at BTSP, working extensively with student-athletes. 

Futrell returns to Philadelphia after serving as an Assistant Coach at the United States Naval Academy during the 2019-2020 season. Under his leadership, Navy qualified five wrestlers for the NCAA Tournament and crowned two EIWA champions. Additionally, Navy had three wrestlers become NWCA Scholar All-Americans.

Collegiately, Futrell was a two-time All-American for the University of Illinois. He was a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection and twice achieved NWCA Scholar All-American status. Futrell earned a Bachelor of Science degree in kinesiology in 2012 and a Master of Education in Education Policy, Organization & Leadership in 2013.

On the Senior Level, Futrell was a member of the 2017 U.S. National Team and a 2014 University Worlds silver medalist. Throughout his career, Futrell placed at over 20 different Senior-level events and won titles at the Dave Schultz Memorial International, the Bill Farrell International and the Ion Corneanu & Ladislau Simon Memorial in Bucharest, Romania. He was also a member of the Titan Mercury Wrestling Club team that brought home a title from the 2016 Club World Championships in Kharkiv, Ukraine.

Futrell will begin his new position in August and is eager to make an impact within the program.

“It is always worth more to invest in people than to invest in things. Studying education in graduate school allowed me to gain an understanding of the contemporary and historical barriers to the distribution of education. The current education system perpetuates social and economic inequality across generations, and BTSP is working to reduce these disparities. I am now in a unique position to be able to provide more access to academic support, serve the underserved community of Philadelphia, and grow the sport of wrestling. Accepting this position was a WIN, WIN, WIN. I couldn’t be more excited to work with this team, bring more hope to the communities of Philadelphia, and continue to change the life trajectory of the kids that are a part it.” said B.J. Futrell.

As part of an organizational restructuring, Ben Reiter, who served as the Mentoring Director since August of 2017, will transition to a newly created Senior Director of Advancement & Strategic Partnerships position. Ben expanded the impact of Mentoring through collaborative initiatives, innovative curriculum, and personal passion for the mission.

Executive Director, James Mangan is thrilled about the changes.

“B.J. is a dynamic individual with a first-hand understanding of the vitally important work of mentoring BTSP student-athletes. Having served as a Mentor, Coach, and Partner in the past will allow B.J. to have an immediate impact on the organization as we build on past success and position for a rapidly evolving future.”    

At BTSP, we strive to positively alter life’s trajectory of the youth we serve by living the core values of Grit, Compassion, Service, and Team.  


Beat the Streets Philadelphia (BTSP) is a sports-based youth development nonprofit that is committed to fostering the holistic growth of student-athletes living in at-risk under-served communities. BTSP implements mentoring, academic support, and wrestling programs throughout the greater Philadelphia region as vehicles to ‘Positively Alter Life’s Trajectory.’

Graduate Success Stories: Nate Asia

COVID-19 has clearly had a tremendous impact on all of us over the past few months. It’s affected each of us in so many ways.

Beyond the disease itself, however, many of us have been forced to miss out on so many big moments which would normally be cause for celebration. Weddings, birthdays, grandparents meeting their grandchild for the first time, & the like…

One group that has missed out significantly has been high school seniors. Senior class trips, proms, graduations. They’ve missed out on the opportunity to spend their waning weeks of high school with their closest friends who are likely headed in a multitude of directions following graduation.

While we certainly can’t replace prom, or graduation, or that last hoorah with friends, what we’re hoping to do over the next couple of weeks is to recognize a few outstanding student-athletes who have some incredible plans following graduation – and we hope you’ll join us.

Name: Nate Asia

High School: Northeast High School

GPA: 4.03

Post-Secondary Plans: Attending Duke University, majoring in Engineering

Other Accomplishments: 2020 PPL Finalist, 2020 PIAA AAA Regional Qualifier

Nate’s wrestling journey began in the 6th grade as a member of the BTSP-sponsored George Washington Youth program. As he recalls it, “My dad was worried that I was just a little too small for football, and so he found the program at GW Youth & signed me up right away.” Nate quickly took to the sport, really enjoyed it, and even won a lot of matches despite his lack of experience. Specifically, he remembers his coach Frank Calderon very fondly. He vividly recalled Coach Franks’ supportiveness and true passion for the sport. It meant a lot to him, even back then, that Coach Calderon took the time to give him individual attention as he learned rather than ‘just focusing on the good kids.’ Following his first season in the sport, Nate decided to pursue other sports, but would later return to wrestling – citing his positive experiences as a youth wrestler as a primary rationale for giving the sport another try down the line.

Entering his freshman year at Northeast, Nate was lucky enough wind up in class with Coach Siravo who began recruiting him almost immediately. According to Nate, while the idea of returning to the mat was initially met with some trepidation on his part, he quickly became excited after attending his first high school match. He remembers the energy in the gym and the fond memories of youth wrestling as key reasons for his deciding to return to the sport. Immediately following that season, Nate began attending optional workouts in the spring and never looked back. By the middle of his sophomore season, Nate had earned a starting spot in the lineup at 126lbs and was fortunate enough to be a part of a Philadelphia Public League Championship team! Although he and the team struggled at district duals that year, Nate remembers it as a turning point for him. “I got beat pretty bad at districts. I was pinned quickly twice, and the team struggled as well. After that, I realized I needed to focus on developing ‘my package’ of consistent attacks.” He realized that to be more competitive against tougher competition, he’d need to become adept at basic, high percentage attacks. And he did just that. Throughout his junior and senior campaigns, Nate leaned heavily on double legs and cradles as he continued to improve each year. To cap off his senior season, Nate was a Philadelphia Public League finalist & PIAA NE Regional Qualifier at the 132lb weight class!

Although Nate’s high school wrestling career has come to a close & the School District of Philadelphia celebrated graduation this past Tuesday, this is just the beginning of the next chapter of his life. This fall, Nate will attend Duke University to study engineering – and that’s not all!! In one way or another, Nate also plans to remain involved with the sport by getting involved with the Duke wrestling program! Congratulations Nate!

Now, a few months after his high school wrestling career has ended, Nate has had time to ask himself a larger question – How is wrestling going to impact me in life? Nate and I spent some time discussing this very question recently and here is what he had to share:

Trust

As Nate tells it, he used to struggle greatly with trust. In teammates and in classmates alike, Nate was the type of student who shied away from group activities through his early high school years and preferred to work alone.

Wrestling, however, taught him how valuable a team can be. He couldn’t say enough about his teammates at Northeast and their support for one another. He’s proud of how the team lifts each other up and how they have helped him through tough times. In time, he’s even come to enjoy team success above his own achievements. A member of two Philadelphia Public League Championship teams at Northeast High School (’18-’19), Nate said, “Winning individuals’ tournaments is great, but it doesn’t compare wot winning something like the PPL Duals where everyone on the team has a hand in it.”

Recently, while the impact of COVID-19 has certainly made maintaining personal relationships tough, Nate says that his teams’ tight bond has been able to overcome those barriers. Between regular facetime calls, group texts to check in on each other, and recently a few socially distanced hangouts, the team has managed to stay tight. “Even after high school, with everyone headed different directions, I know we’re going to stay close” he said.

Humility

“Recognizing self-achievement without flaunting it. Everyone wins and everyone loses – it’s a part of life. It’s important pat yourself on the back after a big accomplishment, but you shouldn’t throw it in anyone’s face because at some point you’re going to be on the other side.”

Time Management

“To be able to balance everything in my life – family, school, friends, wrestling, etc. – I have needed to learn to manage my time. Wrestling is more time consuming than a lot of other sports. So, even though I feel like a lot of sports require you to learn this skill, it just feels like wrestling requires you to develop this a little more.”

Sacrifice

“I felt like I needed to do more than my competition on and off the mat if I wanted to improve and start achieving my goals. In wrestling, everyone practices after school and wrestles in dual meets. However, if I wanted to improve, I needed to show up early and stay late – and that concept easily translates to school too. Every kid is supposed to show up every day, do their homework, etc. If I want to achieve more, I need to be willing to do more.”

For Nate, doing more has meant taking responsibility for his education & driving it in the direction he desired. During his sophomore year, he took the initiative to attend an 8-week seminar at the University of Pennsylvania called Access Engineering. The course, aimed at educating teens on engineering, proved to be a pivotal point him. This would pique his interest so much so, that this fall he’s planning to study engineering and ultimately pursue his career in electrical & computer engineering.

As he continues into his college studies, Nate is planning to continue developing this mentality as he pursues very significant goals. Specifically, Nate says that he’d like to focus on sustainability and apply his education to improving the energy efficiency of large cities! But similar to wrestling, “I need to find to right opportunities to shoot my shot and pin the obstacles  to achieve my goals.”

Ousmane Diarra – In Their Shoes

I just want to start off by saying thank you to everyone here in attendance because if weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be here tonight giving this speech. It’s because people support BTS, that the mentors and staff can have such a huge impact on kids. So, thank you again!

         For me, BTS has been more than just an organization; BTS is a family, a community, a safe haven. A place where you can go to learn, seek guidance and get advice; a place where you are always surrounded by positive influences whose sole purpose is to guide you to the right direction.
        My journey started in the second grade. I immigrated from Mali to the United States at the age of seven not knowing any English. I was immediately put into school and in the first few years I was an awful student. I was always at the bottom of my classes because I couldn’t speak or comprehend English. It was frustrating and one day I just decided that enough was enough. I dedicated my whole summer to teaching myself English. It was hard at first, but I just kept working at it until finally the new school year began. I was unrecognizable to teachers because my reading and writing levels had skyrocketed. A couple years removed from being the worst student in my grade, I graduated that middle school valedictorian and made it to the best high school in Philadelphia. My first real obstacle was English, and I pushed through it with grit alone

         Once I got to Central high school, I was immediately overwhelmed. The curriculum was way above my level of education and the students were much more educated than I was. I spent four years catching up to those kids and when I finally caught up, I had made it to Drexel University.

         As you can tell, I’ve been faced with some serious obstacles and disadvantages. I’ve always prided myself with my incessant work ethic but at a certain point that is not enough; opportunity and support has to be present and that’s what BTS was for me. I became involved with BTS in the summer of my junior year. What started out as a simple ACT Prep, developed into a lifelong friendship. There I met my mentor, Eric Freedman, A medical student from the university of Pennsylvania. At first, he was just a mentor, but later he developed into something else: a role model. I’ve never met anyone as educated as he was, and this gave me the opportunity to pick his brain. I was interested in the medical field and he would always share his experiences and give me tips on how to go about chasing my dream. On top of that Eric was the man! He was the one responsible for pulling my ACT score from a 23 to a 28. This may not seem that significant, but this is a difference of 35 more correct questions on the second attempt. So thank you Eric!!

         Eric also helped with the college process. I’m a first-generation U.S college student so my parents couldn’t really help me in that department. What seemed so easy and natural to my peers, was overwhelming and scary to me. I didn’t know where I wanted to go, and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. Eric guided me through the whole process and ultimately helped arrive at my destination; I would go to Drexel for Public Health!

         More than a year has passed since this chaotic college process took place, so why am I still apart of BTS? It’s really simple because BTS has become a family. I understand the impact BTS can have on kids and I intend to reciprocate that impact. I honestly would not be where I am today without Eric. So why can’t I be an Eric for some other kid? I realized that I could be an Eric so that’s why I’m volunteering with Beat the Streets. The cycle is coming full circle, I now tutor a reserved kid named Mahamadou; and he is also coincidentally from Mali. I view him as a little brother and that’s no surprise because BTS is a family. I see my young self in him and I’m doing my best to guide him. It not just about school homework. It’s much more than that. I want to do the intangibles; be a positive role model and be the person he comes to for help. So I guess that why I’m back volunteering with Beat The Streets. I want to have the same impact on kids that Eric had on me. Thank you        

BTSP Statement

The entire Beat the Streets Philadelphia community is struggling with the very real pain and heartache caused by the death of George Floyd and the subsequent civil unrest. We recognize that we live in an uncertain time where answers to difficult questions aren’t always immediately available. We stand by our youth as we all wrestle with difficult emotions and question what the future may hold. While we will not profess to have definitive answers, we recognize that passively accepting the status quo is not a viable pathway. We admire the courageous actions of peaceful protesters advocating for constructive and necessary change.

Organizationally, BTSP remains resolute in our commitment to supporting our youth’s holistic development. We are determined to live out our core values of Grit, Compassion, Service, and Team. Embodied in those core values is an active pathway towards the positive change that we all aspire to achieve.  As communities navigate this pain-filled period, we will continue to use our programming to prepare and empower our student-athletes to serve as ambassadors of the positive change that we wish to see in the world.

Nick Rubino-In Their Shoes

“Loss is a part of life. If you don’t have a loss you don’t grow. This isn’t tough, this is life.”

– Dominick Cruz

In my decade of experience in combat sports, I have always carried myself with a sense of self-confidence and always patted myself on the back for my ability to overcome & adapt. This was instilled in me through my years of training with my team at Martinez BJJ. Coach Will Martinez led by example and taught me what it meant to be committed through Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai. These qualities always shined during my training or martial arts competitions. I wasn’t always the most talented, however I felt I always was the most determined, no matter who stood across from me on the mat. As far as my determination has taken me in competitions, it is now taking me even further in life. 

During my freshman year at Central High School, I decided to expand my abilities as a martial artist and joined the wrestling team; one of 30 programs in Philadelphia supported by Beat the Streets Philadelphia. I learned quickly that the winner in this sport is decided through determination and their ability to overcome. The sport fit me perfectly; it made me feel electric! Not only did I like the sport, but it turns out I took to it pretty quickly too. In just my freshman season, I even won the individual Public League Championships! That left me hungry, I wanted to top that, so I set a long-term goal of becoming the first state qualifier and medalist in Central High’s history. Little did I know, however, that would never come to fruition due to matters out of my control.

During the summer, I poured my heart and soul into my training. I improved as a wrestler. When December of my sophomore year came, I felt like I was ready to make history. Then, just one week into the season, I grew ill with an illness that completely changed my life. I remember the week vividly. I won my first match, but felt horrible the entire time. Being the determined person I am, I chose not to listen to my body & continue on to my next competition. Unfortunately, this time I wasn’t so lucky. I was gassed the entire match and actually collapsed due to exhaustion at the final whistle. I was later diagnosed with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), and I was forced both off the mat and out of school entirely. I visited numerous doctors and hospitals, continuing to get the same response; there was no viable treatment and that I may live the rest of my life like this, bedridden. After six months of fighting, finally, I was given hope. Using a combination of drugs, my cardiologist found an answer! In short order I was no longer bed ridden, and soon, I would be ready to wrestle again!

That offseason, I went to competition after competition, training 2-3 times a day. It was a rough start initially getting the rust off, but, eventually I was beating state medalists! Now, having regained my self-confidence to go along with my unwavering determination, I was ready to qualify for states my junior year! Just as I had come back, however, things took a quick turn when I tore my labrum during the first scrimmage of the season. For almost a month, I decided to wrestle through my injury & postpone surgery. However, I was left virtually unable to practice and instead would run up to 10 miles per day. Even with these limitations, I had compiled a 12-2 record. Then, my family and doctors decided that my season should end early and I received surgery to repair the ligament. I was heartbroken.

After a 7 month recovery with strenuous rehabilitation, my senior year was going to start soon. All of the adversity I had faced no longer mattered, I was ready to take what was mine! Then, the unthinkable happened. Just three weeks after being cleared by my doctor to wrestle, my shoulder dislocated and I tore the same ligament again. I trained so hard, I had wanted this for so long and now I could never achieve my goal. There was an eerie sense of devastation that I had never felt before, it felt like my heart had been ripped out of my chest. I wasn’t sure I could go through it again. I seriously considered ending my wrestling.

After a few weeks I was off to see another surgeon. He gave me a few options and asked what my goals are. I told him I wanted to wrestle in college. He explained in order to do that I would need a complicated procedure called a Latarjet. It involves restructuring the anatomy of my shoulder. Also, if my shoulder dislocated again I wouldn’t have a choice in  continuing to wrestle.  I decided that I would have the procedure. I am still recovering from my most recent surgery, which will take 9 months to heal, with an even more intensive rehabilitation. I am hopeful my shoulder will never have a recurrence because of the stronger procedure.

I have learned when facing adversity a support system is essential. The unwavering confidence I had in achieving my goals was disrupted by reality. When injured, isolation occurs from your sport. You miss the day to day activities and your team moves on without you. I tried to stay connected to the team as much as possible. I ran some summer practices and contributed as best I could. Beyond friends and family, there was a small group of people that supplied the needed encouragement to move forward. They talked to me as if I still had something to look forward to in wrestling if that is what I wanted to do. It meant a lot. Beat The Streets always kept in contact and asked how they could help. The disappointments of the past were slowly replaced by excitement for the future. I am currently in discussion with a few college coaches and deciding where would be the best fit for me both academically and athletically. While I haven’t yet made up my mind on where that is, I do believe collegiate wrestling is in my future. While not always easy, wrestling teaches us how to get up off the mat. And I’m going to continue to do just that.

PIAA State Championship Preview

This past weekend, a record-high 40 Philadelphia Public League wrestlers took to Bethlehem Liberty High School for the 2020 PIAA NE Regional Tournament. We are so proud of the kids’ hard work & dedication to the sport. To see that hard work result in another record-setting season is just a bonus!

Following an absolute bear of a tournament, we are proud to share that two extremely deserving student-athletes advanced to the PIAA State Tournament this coming weekend in Hershey, PA!

Before we continue, however, I’d like to acknowledge a few guys who had strong tournaments. Aboubakare Diaby (138), Reynaldo Garcia (138), Naseen Pennington (152), & Ahmir Ragsdale (160), & John Colbourne (195) all had strong showings, and although they came up short, each of these guys impressed us greatly!

Now…on to our 2020 PIAA State Qualifiers!!!

Angel Garcia (US #10 / PA #4) Mariana Bracetti Academy 

What more can we say about Angel at this point? As he prepares to make his 3RD (Yes, 3RD) trip to the PIAA State Tournament, Angel has already solidified his position as the most accomplished wrestler in Philadelphia Public League history. The PPL’s all-time leader in wins (124) is gearing up to take on one of the most talented weight classes in the nation. Don’t believe me? Just ask FloWrestling! The PIAA AAA 170lb weight class features an astounding 5 top 12 wrestlers nationally & 6 DI commits. While the challenge of the weight class has forced some to drop down or bump up, Angel has embraced the challenge. Angel is looking forward to being tested & seeing just how high he can climb on the podium.

Off of the mat, those close to Angel are incredibly proud to see how the young, scrappy kid from Rizzo PAL has grown into the young man he is today. Angel prides himself on his loyalty to his family and his teammates, coaches regularly take notice of his leadership, and his relentless pursuit of excellence in all phases of his life is abundantly clear. Congratulations Angel, now take care of business!

Daishawn Tilghman (PA #14) Overbrook

 A 4x regional qualifier, Daishawn Tilghman, is FINALLY a PIAA State Qualifier. Few wrestlers have shown the Grit that Daishawn Tilghman has throughout his wrestling career. I could write about his trials & tribulations this kid has faced for hours, but I’ll try to keep it brief. In the last 12 months alone, Daishawn suffered a disappointing end to his season at regionals in 2019 (despite being favored to qualify for the state tournament). He lost at NHSCA’s deep into wrestle backs. He had a blood round loss at Fargo in Greco-Roman. To top it all off, dropping a 1st round loss at regionals this past weekend (he was the #2 seed). After such a string of heartbreaking defeats, most wrestlers would have likely packed it in and called it a career, but not Daishawn. With tremendous support from his teammates and his coaches, Daishawn managed to rattle off three consecutive wins by fall, followed by a 1-0 decision to avenge his first-round loss in the consolation finals!

As proud as we all are to see Daishawn finally “get over the hump” he is far from finished. Having been ranked as high as #6 in PA this season, Daishawn is completely capable of climbing the podium in Hershey & now has the confidence to believe he can do just that.

Daishawn has always been an absolute joy to coach/mentor, and everyone lucky enough to know Daishawn would tell you that. Daishawn is consistent, smart, funny, & studious; he’s the total package. I can say to you both personally & on behalf of BTSP that he will be missed as he graduates from Mastery Shoemaker this spring. While his plans are not officially set just yet, Daishawn has a number of exceptional options in front of him & he plans to continue wrestling in college. Great work so far Daishawn, now finish the mission!

Edwin Morales – In Their Shoes

Growing up wasn’t easy for me. Between being bullied, exposed to an environment ridden with drugs, and losing friends to street violence, life was just flat out difficult. For some reason, however,  I find myself standing before you all today. I found a way to rise up, to persevere. Before I continue, I want to thank my family, friends (who chose a positive path), and Beat the Streets Philadelphia. Specifically, I want to mention Coach Ed from PAL, James Mangan, Ben Reiter, Matt McConnell, Ben Greer, Chris Hanlon, and Max Tannenbaum!

Thank you for helping to “save me from becoming just another statistic.”

I first began wrestling with BTSP 8 years ago, as a member of the Mariana Bracetti Academy wrestling team when Coach Tannenbaum, my teacher at the time, asked me to give the sport a try. Although I wasn’t great at the start, seeing my younger brother Luis stick with it challenged me to do the same. 

Early in my high school years, school wasn’t quite ‘my thing’. I did a lot of my homework ‘on the fly’, I didn’t have big goals for myself, and for the most part l saw school as something I had to do in order to pursue a military career. With help from my mentor, Penn wrestler Lorenzo Thomas, all of that changed for me. I learned to balance my time between the mat and the classroom, the importance of goal setting, and the fulfillment that comes with helping others! Pretty quickly, I saw my grades jump from C’s/D’s to A’s/B’s; ‘just okay’ stopped being enough, and I even began to get excited about school!

Before I knew it, my improvements in the classroom began to translate to success on the mat. I continued to take advantage of all of the opportunities BTSP had to offer. I wrestled year round, competed around the country, and made strides quickly! After 4 years of grinding, I finished my career with over 100 wins & became the 1st state qualifier in school history!

I focused my time on simultaneously helping myself & others. While I took classes at Community College of Philadelphia, I continued to give back to BTSP as much as possible. I helped coach wherever I was needed, mentored high school wrestlers, and continued to give back. I refused to be deterred. Eventually, I finished the school year at CCP with a 3.7 GPA; opening the doors for me to attend a 4-year college and wrestle at Bridgewater State University.

Today, I am proud to share that I’ve been successful at Bridgewater State. Not only am I on track to earn Academic All-American status; I’m also doing very well on the mat as I continue to chase my dream of becoming a National Champion!

Looking ahead, I know that I want to dedicate my future toward helping kids like me. I want to show kids who might feel stuck like I did that there is always a way out of the hood; and it’s is not by getting involved in the streets, by skipping class, or thinking negatively. It’s about going to class, studying, thinking positively about the conflict we find ourselves in, and most of all, not being afraid to ask for help when it’s needed. Not enough students had the opportunity I did; and I want to make sure that continues to change. My name is Edwin Morales, and I am a proud student athlete who grew up through the Beat the Streets Philadelphia program.  


Changing of the Guard, PAL Officer Ernie Rehr Retires

Few people in this world spend their working lifetime committed to one single institution. For Officer Ernie Rehr, a 35 year veteran of the Philadelphia Police force there was rarely any doubt. Once Ernie was selected as the Rizzo PAL Center Officer in 1990 he quickly became a part of the fabric of the surrounding communities of Port Richmond, Fishtown, and Kensington. With a big smile and an even larger heart, Ernie played a vital role on coaching multiple generations of boys and girls. As a mentor to many and a role model to all, his service over the years is appreciated on a level words can not do justice.     

Over the decades Ernie fostered a wide range of youth development programs out of the Rizzo Center: Perhaps most notably the PAL Wrestling Club. From 1990 to 2009, this program was the only youth wrestling program that operated within the city limits that did not charge participants a registration fee. Eliminating the cost-barrier of entry introduced thousand of youth that would never have been accessible otherwise. Without any prior experience in the sport Ernie embraced the effort of coach Ed Schneider. Unbeknownst to them at the time they laid the groundwork to ensure a legacy was created. In 2009 Beat the Streets partnered with PAL as the leader in their respective space to expand wrestling throughout Philadelphia. 

Ernie’s official retirement is scheduled for Friday November 7th, 2019. Please join us in congratulating Ernie on a tremendously successful career. Ernie plans to enjoy retirement spending time with his loving wife Robin, and spoiling his beautiful grandchildren.

On behalf of the BTSP Board of Directors and Executive Staff we would like to extend our sincere thanks and gratitude to Officer Ernie for his decades worth of service.          

Felicia Wong Joins BTSP

Beat the Streets Press Release – University of Penn Practicum Partnership

Beat the Streets Philadelphia (BTSP) is pleased to welcome Felicia Wong as a part-time consultant from the University of Pennsylvania’s Leadership Practicum through the School of Social Policy & Practice. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Nonprofit Leadership and Management (NPL), and hopes to share the skills and knowledge from the program with the people and communities in need of those resources. At BTSP, Felicia will develop fundraising strategies and offer input on diversity initiatives, putting classroom theory to practice in service of the organization.

This is the first year BTSP has hosted an NPL Practicum consultant, though partnering with Penn and universities in Philadelphia at large is not novel to the organization; BTSP believes in the power of collective impact and seeks to continually deepen relationships with others invested in serving Philadelphia and its surrounding populations. Through this new partnership with NPL, BTSP continues to grow and learn with Penn students and alumna hearkening back to the foundations laid by Penn graduates in 2009.

“Stepping into Beat the Streets’ office, I immediately knew I was in a space where students are truly valued and supported, and I can’t wait to serve with and alongside the BTSP team.”

-Felicia Wong

Though new to Philadelphia and the world of wrestling, Felicia is familiar with the core values of Grit, Compassion, Service, and Team which are central to BTSP’s mission. Having grown up with military communities in Stuttgart, Germany and the Filipino American community in Virginia Beach, VA, she carries with her a global understanding of how community support shapes individuals. Prior to BTSP, Felicia graduated from the College of William & Mary then worked for two years in Washington, DC as the Programs Manager at the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership (CAPAL), where she worked to connect Asian Americans and Pacific Islander (AAPI) students with careers in public service. In the same vein, she hopes to continue honing her advocacy and leadership skills at Penn and BTSP.

Grant to Fund Collective Impact

Beat the Streets Philadelphia in collaboration with the Philadelphia Police Athletic League have been awarded a transformative grant by Families Behind the Badge Children’s Foundation!

The funds will be used to renovate a wrestling room for a new program at the Southwest PAL center while also replacing mats at the existing program at the Rizzo Pal center. The gift will also cover the operating costs for the first year of wrestling at Southwest PAL.

Rizzo PAL Wrestling Club coached by Ed Schneider has played a key role developed some of the very best wrestlers over the past three decades. PIAA State place winners, Joey Galasso (Father Judge), Miles Lee (South Philadelphia), Jameel Coles (Northeast) and Angel Garcia (MBA) all spent countless hours getting better at Rizzo PAL. In addition to producing talented wrestlers, the PAL wrestling program has helped hundreds of other young men and women become productive members of society, including Beat the Streets executive director, James Mangan.

This generous gift will position Beat the Streets Philadelphia to continue providing programming that alters life’s trajectory for the youth at the Rizzo and Southwest PAL centers for another generation. On behalf of the entire BTSP organization, we would like to thank Deputy Commissioner Joseph Sullivan, Founder Mark O’Connor as well as the entire Leadership team of Families Behind the Badge Children’s Foundation for entrusting us in delivering on our aligned mission of supporting Philadelphia youth.

Our Partner Organizations Missions

The Families Behind the Badge Children’s Foundation (FBBCF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit committed to improving the lives of children in the Greater Philadelphia and South Jersey area. We do this in three ways: by supporting the families of first responders who are killed or severely injured in the line of duty, by improving relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve and by encouraging our children through education and recreation. https://www.fbbcf.org/

PAL is “Cops Helping Kids.”  We aspire to be the premier youth-serving organization in the city, by reducing crime, promoting character development, and improving educational outcomes. We do this by having Philadelphia Police Officers, supported by civilians, offer sports and other programs to youth in PAL centers in some of the city’s highest crime and lowest income neighborhoods. PAL Centers are safe havens, offering a variety of programs and other events to attract, engage, and develop an active membership base of more than 10,000 Philadelphia youth. https://phillypal.org/

Opportunities to get involved as a coach, a mentor, or a donor exist right now. If you would like to learn more about any of those please contact us.