BTS Philly Podcast: Harold Anderson

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Harold’s Story

In this episode of the podcast we are joined by former Beat the Streets student-athlete Harold Anderson.

Harold is currently a senior at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business where he is concentrating in Management.

In the middle of sixth grade, Harold transferred to Belmont Charter and one day the wrestling coach approached him to join the team. 

“I had no friends and wasn’t doing anything at that time,” he says. “So I’m like I might as well give it a try, I have nothing to lose.”

Harold immediately found a sense of purpose on the wrestling mat. 

“It gave me that sense of camaraderie,” he explained. “That sense of being a part of something that’s bigger than yourself.”

Through Beat the Streets and the sport of wrestling, Harold met many mentors who pushed him to better himself on and off the mat. 

“I met people who would later form my support system and people who are still in my support system.”

When he got the chance to join a travel team, he jumped at the opportunity. “I was like, take me anywhere, I’ll wrestle with anyone, I don’t care. I just want to go and experience stuff.”

Wrestling taught Harold many valuable lessons over the years that he still carries with him today. Harold recognized how important it was to support his peers along the way. 

“In wrestling you have a responsibility to those around you,” Harold explains. “Whether that be helping someone who’s struggling with conditioning by doing an extra lap with them or making sure you’re paying attention to your teammates while they’re wrestling. If you see someone down sitting on the bench maybe just going by and saying ‘Hey, what’s up? Is everything, okay?’”

Nowadays, Harold continues to serve and be involved with the Beat the Streets community by helping organize the Youth Ambassadors Program, which is aimed to give a voice to the younger BTS graduates within the organization. 

“There is a very strong case to be made for child empowerment and child advocacy. And knowing that children have things to say, that they know what they’re talking about. When you’re dealing with a specific group of people, whether that be kids or a marginalized group, you can’t do anything sustainably without using their actual voices.”

“And I think one of the big things that I want to accomplish with this group is giving the student athletes and their families more of a voice, more empowerment to actively be a part of changing their trajectory.”

Harold is continuing his track record of service with his career choice as well. He landed his dream opportunity with Viacom in their social responsibility department. And he is doing an internship with Nickelodeon Animation’s Community Efforts Department.

“I’m at a dream place, the kid me would have never believed. If you went to that kid who showed up to Belmont that day, and told him all these things happening, he would probably run away and be like, ‘Nah, get out of here.’”

BTS Philly Podcast: Joey McKenna on Mentoring BTS Student Athletes

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Joey’s Inspiration

In this episode of the Beat the Streets Philadelphia Podcast, we get the tremendous opportunity to speak with Joey McKenna, an Olympic level wrestler who serves as a mentor to Beat the Streets student athletes. 

Joey competes at the international level where represents the Pennsylvania Regional Training Center. In college, Joey wrestled for Stanford and Ohio State where he was a three-time NCAA All-American and two-time Big Ten champion. At the senior level, Joey boasts a U.S. Open title and he recently finished as runner-up at the Olympic Trials.

Off the mats, Joey serves as a mentor and role model for many youth at Beat the Streets. “It’s not something that we have to do, but something that we get to do,” says McKenna. “And we can really help shape and change lives. So getting involved in that is super important.”

According to McKenna, the student athletes are not the only ones who benefit from the mentorship program. “They can be role models for me,” he says. “In terms of the way they handle their adversity and the way they’re pushing to become better. It’s contagious.”

He continues to be inspired by drive and discipline of the student athletes. “The amount of adversity that they have to go through to even show up to practice is incredible.”

According to Joey, wrestling can provide a toolkit for facing that adversity and growing as a person. “Through those experiences we become stronger,” Joey says. “And wrestling has taught me that.”

“Wrestling is helping equip them with the intangibles to continue to face adversity,” Joey says. “At the end of the day, you have to face those things head on to grow and become who you want to be.”

Having the Philadelphia wrestling community behind him means a lot to McKenna. He recently wore a Beat the Streets Philadelphia t-shirt at a major wrestling event and was proud of the response he received from the community.

“I received a text after about how all the Beat the Streets kids were so hyped up. That’s encouraging. That’s inspiring to me. It makes it easier to go out there and do what I do.”

“I’m out there wearing a Beat the Streets shirt thinking I’m doing a good thing and in representing this organization, but I know that every single kid is right behind me and supporting me wholeheartedly. And it means a lot to see that.”


This episode is brought to you by Blue Chip Athletic who has helped provide athletic apparel for so many of our student athletes. Thank you BlueChip for your support!

If you are inspired by these stories and would like to help Beat the Streets provide opportunities for more student-athletes, please consider supporting our mission by visiting our donation page or by sharing these stories with friends and family.

BTS Philly Podcast: Ousmane Diarra

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Ousmane’s Story

In this episode of the podcast, we speak with Ousmane Diarra, a Beat the Streets graduate and mentor. Ousmane has such an inspirational journey, starting when he first arrived in the United States at age seven from Mali. Even though he didn’t even speak English at first, Ousmane was never one to shy away from hard work, so he spent the whole summer teaching himself.

After working his way to becoming the valedictorian of his middle school, Ousmane attended Central High School, one of the top schools in Philadelphia. During his sophomore year, Ousmane discovered the sport of wrestling. “I was one of those people who got committed and dedicated really fast,” Ousmane explains. “That’s all I could think about.”

Ousmane explains how wrestling taught him the value of hard work. “When you put in a certain amount of effort, it shows, because you’re the only person wrestling. If you’re wrestling someone and you lose, and then you put in more effort next year and you win, that’s such a rewarding feeling. And that reinforces the value of hard work.”

Not just hard work though, Ousmane says, wrestling also teaches accountability “because only you know how hard you’re pushing yourself. And every day at practice when you have that last to give and you don’t give it, you just know you could have done more. And it’s all reflective of how you perform in matches.”

Ousmane talks about the importance of the Beat the Streets community in his life. “Beat the Streets is like a second family to me at this point,” he says. He became more involved during his junior year when he frequently went to the mentoring center for homework help and test prep. Through Beat the Streets, Ousmane met University of Pennsylvania medical student Eric Friedman who became an important mentor to him. Eric helped him prepare for the ACTs and inspired him through the college application process.

Now Ousmane is working towards a Master’s Degree in Public Health at Drexel University. He is also helping to conduct cutting edge research in vaccines with Dr. Harvey Rubin, the founder of Energize the Chain.

He dedicates so much of his time to helping out and mentoring younger student athletes at Beat the Streets. Ousmane explains why mentoring is so important. “I love seeing growth from the kids. I just love seeing when they first come into the mentoring center how they’re doing with school and how their attitudes change with school. To now when they’re regulars at the mentoring center. They’re the new leaders. They’re leading kids to do the same thing they’ve been doing in the past. I just love seeing whenever kids grow personally and they grow academically. That’s a really big thing for me.”

If you are inspired by these stories and would like to help Beat the Streets provide opportunities for more student-athletes, please consider supporting our mission by visiting our donation page or by sharing these stories with friends and family.

Beat the Streets Philadelphia and Police Athletic League of Philadelphia Celebrate Expansion of Programming in Southwest Philadelphia

Capital and Programmatic Improvements Made Possible Thanks to the Generosity of Families Behind the Badge Children’s Foundation

WHO: PAL and BTS Participant, Aboubakare Diaby of the Southwest PAL Center; Capt. Krista Dahl-Campbell, PAL Commanding Officer; James Mangan, Executive Director, Beat the Streets Philly; Joe Sullivan, President, Families Behind the Badge Children’s Foundation Board of Directors; April Thomas-Jones, PAL Executive Director

Philadelphia, PA Leadership from the Families Behind the Badge Children’s Foundation, Beat the Streets (BTS) Philly, and Police Athletic League (PAL) of Philadelphia gather today at the Southwest PAL Center to cut the ribbon on the new wrestling room made possible by a $55,000 donation to PAL and BTS to expand their partnership into a new section of Philadelphia. 

BTS Philly is a preeminent wrestling based youth development nonprofit that is committed to fostering the holistic growth of student-athletes living in under-served communities. BTS has formally partnered with PAL for 12 years to bring sports-based youth development and mentoring to young people living in the cities high-crime and low-income neighborhoods. Today’s announcement celebrates a second location, growing the partnership from one location in Port Richmond to two, allowing each non-profit to double the impact. 

PAL’s Commanding Officer, Captain Krista Dahl-Campbell says, “We are excited to continue building upon the relationship with Beat the Streets in a new location. Southwest Philadelphia has challenges but it is also dynamic and interested in solutions for their children. This partnership allows PAL to offer kids in the community an additional opportunity to learn and grow in a team environment.”

“As a former PAL kid and now Executive Director of Beat the Streets Philadelphia, I couldn’t be happier to be expanding our program to Southwest Philadelphia. I grew up wrestling in the program we operate at PAL Clearfield and the experience forever changed my life. Thank you to our funding partners from the Families Behind the Badge Children’s Foundation for making this possible!” exclaims James Mangan, Executive Director, Beat the Streets Philly.

Aboubakare Diaby is a senior at Central Highschool and has been a part of both the Beat the Streets and PAL programs for over 5 years. He and his family live in Southwest Philadelphia, very close to the PAL Center on 5900 Elmwood. Aboubakare and his brother Mahamadou would spend 2 hours on public transportation each day to get to and from the Beat the Streets wrestling program located at the 24th District PAL Center. Aboubakare was so excited to hear about the opening of the Southwest PAL wrestling room that he even decided to help out as an assistant coach to the younger wrestlers.  

“The opening of the Southwest PAL wrestling room is not only an opportunity for the sport of wrestling to grow in Philadelphia, but it is also an opportunity for me to give back to my community. My involvement with Beat the Streets Philadelphia is beginning to come full circle and I can’t wait to continue to give back and change the lives of others” said Aboubakare Diaby.

“One of the missions of the Families Behind the Badge Children’s Foundation, along with supporting the families of fallen and injured first responders, is to help build healthy connections in the communities they serve where there is mutual respect and trust between police officers and the children in those communities. Supporting PAL and Beat the Streets Philadelphia was a perfect fit. Being able to provide a safe place for children to learn a new skill such as wrestling, while receiving academic support, and with the guidance of PAL officers, is what our foundation is all about” said Joe Sullivan, President, Families Behind the Badge Children’s Foundation Board of Directors.

PAL’s Executive Director, April Thomas-Jones claims, “the value in this partnership is that it brings two organizations together to do what they do best. Beat the Streets is clearly a best-in-class wrestling and mentoring program, and PAL is building positive police community relations. To have a funder that sees the importance of both is a win win win! Families Behind the Badge Children’s Foundation is able to bring communities together through impactful programming, Beat the Streets can serve more kids, and PAL can bring more opportunities to its youth.

WHAT:  

The Police Athletic League of Philadelphia, Beat the Streets Philly, and Families Behind the Badge Children’s Foundation will have a check presentation and short remarks at the Southwest PAL Center to celebrate the ribbon cutting on its continued partnership and new space.

WHERE: Southwest PAL Center (5900 Elmwood Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19143)

Parking lot on site

WHEN: Tuesday, March 30, 2021 – 4:00 p.m. 

Interview Opportunity at Southwest PAL Center 4pm-5pm

Who: Aboubakare Diaby is a senior at Central Highschool and has been a part of both the Beat the Streets and PAL programs for over 5 years. He now helps as an assistant coach the younger wrestlers.  

Scene: Ribbon cutting in new wrestling room. Formal remarks at podium beginning at 4pm with opportunity to interview PAL and BTS Kid, Aboubakar immediately following.

About PAL: 

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 accomplish this by having Philadelphia Police Officers, supported by civilians, offer educational, athletic, and recreational programs to youth in some of the city’s highest crime and lowest income neighborhoods. PAL Centers are safe havens, offering a variety of free programs and other events to attract engage Philadelphia’s youth.

AboutBeat the Streets Philadelphia: 

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 under-served communities. BTSP implements mentoring, academic support, and wrestling programs throughout the greater Philadelphia region as vehicles to ‘Positively Alter Life’s Trajectory.’  

About the Families Behind the Badge Children’s Foundation:

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 achieve this by providing necessary financial relief for the families of fallen or critically injured first responders (police officers, firefighters, EMTs)  and cultivating positive relationships and interactions between police officers and the children in the communities they serve. In 2019, the Families Behind the Badge Children’s Foundation raised over $1.1 million dollars, primarily from its two signature events, The Ben to the Shore Bike Tour and the Gathering of Heroes. To date, the FBBCF has raised over $9.5 million dollars for the children in our community. Every year, over 80% of all proceeds go directly to those programs.

BTS Philly Podcast: Lakita Williams


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Lakita’s Story

In this episode of the podcast, we speak with Lakita Williams, a Beat the Streets graduate and coach. Lakita began wrestling as a junior at Mastery Charter School Shoemaker Campus after several of her friends joined the team. “It wasn’t meant to be serious,” she explained, “but it ended up being really serious.”

According to Lakita, the wrestling room was a safe space where “regardless of what race you are, what gender you are, what your sexual orientation is, you can find a space where people are going to uplift you, push you towards your goals, and motivate you to be the best version of yourself.”

Lakita has spent her whole life battling what she calls perceived fragility. “I was born three months early, so I was really tiny and I had some health complications,” she explained. So her parents never let her play football with her brothers and many people treated her like she was fragile. But Lakita pushed back and began committing herself fully to the sport of wrestling.

As a black female, Lakita spent her life overcoming barriers, which served her well on the mat. “I didn’t know that’s what would make me such a good wrestler,” she says. “Those innate abilities to get control over whatever obstacle comes my way, whether it be racism, sexism, or an opponent who is top seed.”

While her willpower and toughness helped her thrive on the mat, it was the community that kept Lakita coming back every day. Beat the Streets gave Lakita “that feeling like you finally belong somewhere.”

Lakita is grateful for those mentors who inspired her along the way and talks about the motivation provided by “seeing someone who has been through what you’ve been through defy the odds and surmount whatever challenges may be in the way.”

Now Lakita is able to give back to the younger generation through her coaching and mentoring. Being a role model means a lot to Lakita. “Not everybody has that,” she says. “I didn’t always have someone who looked like me. And I think that’s really important.”

Lakita doesn’t just talk about it, she leads by example. When she tells young girls they should try wrestling, they listen to her. “I did it,” she tells them. “I come from the same neighborhood you come from, I grew up down the street from here.”

We are so grateful to have Lakita as a part of the Beat the Streets family and for sharing her story with us!


Brought to you by:

Yes! Athletics

A special thanks to Yes! Athletics for supporting this episode and for helping us share inspirational stories from the Beat the Streets community.

If you are inspired by these stories and would like to help Beat the Streets provide opportunities for more student-athletes, please consider supporting our mission by visiting our donation page or by sharing these stories with friends and family.

BTS Philly Podcast: James Mangan, Executive Director


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“What gets me out of bed every day is knowing that we’re putting smiles on kids’ faces.”


In this episode of the podcast, we speak with James Mangan, the Executive Director of Beat the Streets Philadelphia.

James comes with a depth of experience from all levels of the organization. He grew up in Philadelphia and began wrestling at 10 years old. “The first day I showed up, I realized that there was something different about this, there was something unique, there was something special.”

James looks back on his early years on the mats and the mentors who helped him achieve his goals. “They had this unique ability to teach lessons on a wrestling mat. You didn’t realize you were learning life lessons as a little kid.”

James never forgot about those mentors who helped him, so when he graduated, he dedicated himself to giving back to the next generation of Philadelphia wrestlers by becoming a volunteer coach.

Mentors don’t just help you on the wrestling mat though, James explains. “It’s one thing to learn how to wrestle and be tough and be resilient. It’s another thing to leverage that to achieve your goals off the mat. Mentorship is the only way we can possibly do that with an individual focus.”

James gives much credit to the partnerships Beat the Streets has with the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University wrestling teams as well as the Olympic level Regional Training Center, which provide a pipeline of mentors to work with the student-athletes. 

One of the things that James is most proud of is that Beat the Streets is able to unite the youth from so many diverse parts of Philadelphia. “Even though now we have 29 different programs,” James says, “it still feels like one team, one community.”

This sense of community doesn’t stop at the local level either. The support from Beat the Streets National is invaluable, according to James. “Having that ability to reach out to a peer in Los Angeles or Chicago or New York City, and partner with them on initiatives to better serve our youth is extremely incredible.”

How does James define success at Beat the Streets Philadelphia?

“If I leave a practice and the kid is smiling, I know we did right. If I leave a mentoring session and the kid is smiling, I know we did right. It may sound corny, but what gets me out of bed every day is knowing that we’re putting smiles on kids’ faces and making a difference in their lives.”


A special thanks to Gear2Compete for supporting this episode and for helping us share inspirational stories from the Beat the Streets community.

If you are inspired by these stories and would like to help Beat the Streets provide opportunities for more student-athletes, please consider supporting our mission by visiting our donation page or by sharing these stories with friends and family.

Kerry McCoy: The Critical Importance of Team Dynamics

This past Saturday, we were honored to interview wrestling legend, Kerry McCoy. During his athletic career he became: a High School State Champion in New York (2 time finalist), a 2 time NCAA Division 1 National Champion at Penn State, a 5 time U.S Open Champion, a 2003 World Silver Medalist, and competed in both the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games. Post-athletics, he became an assistant coach at Lehigh, head coach at both Stanford and Maryland, Black Wrestling Association VP, California RTC Coach and coached the 2008 Olympic team.Having been a part of countless successful teams during his time as an athlete, coach and director, the meaning behind the “team” has held much importance during Kerry’s career. 

    Growing up in Longwood NY, Kerry had 3 siblings and a mother who was always one of his biggest sources of inspiration. He described his mom as “a single mother raising four kids while going back and trying to get her high school and bachelor’s degrees, but always being there for the important moments in my athletic career.” Moreover, he explained that his mother’s words of encouragement always resonated with him in moments of hardship or stress. He also credits much of his success to his High school/College/Olympic coaches, who “gave wisdom in many different ways.” Outside of his circle, he always looked up to Muhammed Ali for inspiration and motivation as well. 

   Kerry has been a part of some remarkable teams in his years as both an athlete and coach. From a great high school program, to being a part of a world-renowned program at Penn State University, to the national team in multiple different Olympic games, the meaning behind the word “team” has held extreme significance in his career. He added onto our definition of team by describing it as “a second family.” Moreover, he stated that “from the first day I started wrestling, the atmosphere that I’ve felt as an athlete and wanted to recreate as a coach is family.” Kerry was able to thrive in environments such as these. He detailed one of the first moments where team had significance in his athletic career. He explained a story where during his Junior year of High School, he was preparing to wrestle in the County Tournament finals in which the winner goes to the State tournament. He mentioned that a teammate of his, Nicky Hall (a senior who was also a nationally recognized wrestler), took the time to help create a game-plan, practice moves and then successfully execute them in the match where he won his first County Championship. McCoy then said “Nicky had his own championship match to prepare for, and for him to take the time to help me like he did really showed me the deeper meaning behind a team. He cared about me and wanted our team to be successful.”

    McCoy used the lessons learned from the great teams that he was a part of in his coaching career by turning two different programs in Stanford and Maryland into well respected teams. Kerry also detailed the differences in the meaning of “team” as an athlete compared to a coach: “As an athlete, you’re focused more on yourself and how you can be the best you. You’re always going to put in the extra work. From runs, to being in the lab. But as I became a coach, I realized that my perspective had broadened. I had to make sure that all of my athletes were motivated, but some guys’ goals are different from others. While one guy might be in the lab 6 hours a day working to be a national champion, another guy has other obligations as well. Others might become doctors, lawyers and more, so I have to realize that they are just as committed but have different paths in life.” He continued to instill the same message about team no matter who the individual was, but had the knowledge and experience based on previous teams he had been a part of to adapt to a coaches’ environment. 

    We at Beat the Streets Philadelphia thank Kerry McCoy for taking the time to talk about the meaning of team, his success as an athlete and coach, and his personal experiences with the sport of wrestling!

Gabriel Townsell: Defining Grit through my own experiences

This past Thursday, we had the pleasure of hosting Gabriel Townsell on our virtual group mentoring call. Gabe grew up in North Lawndale on the west side of Chicago, which he describes as the most dangerous part of Chicago from his youth. He credited his faith-based family for supporting his faith endeavors and successful wrestling career through the years, in addition to his creation of music. Regarding the area Gabe grew up in, he stated the following:

“Coming from that environment to the suburbs, both for training and high school, made it apparent to me that there were things about life that I understood, things I’d seen or experienced, and people I related to that wouldn’t and couldn’t be understood by someone there. I saw two distinct Americas, and the gap between both was bridged by wrestling.”

On our group mentoring call, Gabe expanded on his experience living in North Lawndale and his transition to Stanford University. At Stanford, Gabe was a three-time NCAA qualifier, a three-time NWCA Academic All-American, and received a degree in political science with a law concentration. Here at Beat the Streets Philadelphia, one of our core values is grit, which we define as the passion and perseverance to pursue a long-term goal. Wrestling is a sport that truly tests the grit of every participant out there. We asked Gabe how grit has played a role in his long-term success. He said the following: “I’ve fought through adversity, whether it be injuries, losses, personal tragedies, internal obstacles, whatever… but recognizing that the odds aren’t a death sentence with regard to any of those things has paid off in the pursuit of every goal I’ve had.” He continued to touch on the fact that some things that happen are out of our control, and what matters is handling what we can control in the best way possible. One example that Gabe shared of displaying grit in his life was when Stanford wrestled Fresno State at the Battle of the Midway. While dealing with two of his childhood friends getting shot and losing a childhood coach, Gabe gave his prayers and went out to secure a win with a pin. That action took an immense amount of self-control emotionally and physically. Talk about facing adversity and showing a tremendous amount of grit in a time where things weren’t turning out for the best.
We asked Gabe to give his definition of grit, and he answered, “my definition of grit is the ability to find personal reasons to pursue one’s passions and keep them central in all circumstances.” His idea that keeping one’s passions central in all circumstances is something that we can all relate to and utilize throughout our lives when experiencing a scenario that hasn’t necessarily turned out the best for us. Transferring from his neighborhood in Chicago to Stanford, a predominantly white institution (PWI), Gabe also gave his insight into overcoming any fears that may have arisen and advice to any black student-athlete wrestlers out there. The main piece of his advice stated:

“My advice would be to call whatever makes up home for you a lot and make sure you know what it is you want from your college experience and how that betters you specifically; even understanding everything on the front end will come with a fair number of culture shocks as a Black student from a predominantly Black neighborhood at a PWI.”

Coming from a family with two highly-educated and middle-class Black parents, Gabe mentioned that his role model through it all was his father. He stressed the resilience that he observed of his father and that his father taught to him. Having that resilience in all areas of your life strengthens the way one goes about conducting their actions. There is one final and decisive quote from Gabe.

“As long as I have dreams, I will relentlessly pursue those dreams. That much I can guarantee.”

Thank you again to Gabriel Townsell for taking the time to attend our group mentoring session this past Thursday and sharing his insight on his experiences as a black student-athlete, how he dealt with adversity, and the grit he displayed through his actions! Make sure to check out his music on all platforms!

BTSP Podcast Episode 1: Edwin Morales, “Beat the Streets is like a safe haven.”

Available On:
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Edwin’s Story

In this episode of the podcast, Beat the Streets alumnus Edwin Morales shares his passion for wrestling, community, and hard work. Edwin is so full of enthusiasm that he uplifts those around him and inspires them to become better people.

Edwin currently wrestles at Bridgewater State University and is studying Criminal Justice. He is a captain on the team and was named a Division III All-American this year. He never stops to rest and he continues to work towards his goal of becoming a national champion.

Edwin discovered wrestling through his brother in 9th grade and his life was never the same. “My grades weren’t that good,” he says. “But then I got involved with Beat the Streets and I fell in love with wrestling. And if I wanted to keep wrestling, I had to keep good grades.” Beat the Streets provided Edwin with a strong community and mentors who supported his continued growth.

He was always at the Beat the Streets mentoring center, even after a long day of school and practice, because the community was so important to him. “It was a second home,” Edwin explains, “a second family that I was able to create with Beat the Streets.” Edwin explains that even after everyone finished their schoolwork, they would stick around to play games with each other. “Beat the Streets is like a safe haven.”

Edwin credits wrestling with keeping him motivated when he had hard times. “Wrestling is like life: there are some points in life where you’re going to feel low, but then there are going to be points when you’re going to feel great. There’s times when I felt unstoppable, but got beat up a little bit. But then I kept going. I kept pushing. And then I am where I am today.”

He believes so strongly in the mission, that he dedicates much of his time to mentoring younger student athletes. “It’s so much joy seeing these kids the first day they come in and then seeing them the last day, when they’re going to college and they’re going to start life. And they’re full young adults ready to tackle anything that’s given to them because they put in the work and they want to change.”

We know that he will continue to accomplish great things both on and off the mat while inspiring those around him.


A special thanks to O3 World for supporting this episode and for helping us share inspirational stories from the Beat the Streets community.

If you are inspired by Edwin’s journey and would like to help young student-athletes like him, please consider supporting our mission by visiting our donation page or by sharing these stories with friends and family.

Giving Tuesday Partnership – Yes! Athletics

YES! Athletics Celebrates GivingTuesday with a Buy One, Give One campaign during the month of December 2020, joining millions around the world participating in the global generosity movement

Philadelphia PA, December 1, 2020 – Beginning this GivingTuesday and continuing for the month of December, YES! Athletics will inspire generosity by giving one pair of wrestling shoes for every pair sold to Beat the Streets Philadelphia.

GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement, unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and their world. GivingTuesday will kick off the generosity season this year by inspiring people to give back on December 1, 2020, and throughout the year.

YES! Athletics is excited to partner with Beat the Streets Philadelphia this holiday season to provide the necessary wrestling gear for girls participating in the program.  Yes! Athletics hopes to give 50 pairs of wrestling shoes during the December campaign.  To support this campaign, go to www.yesathleticsusa.com and use code GIVING.  Shoes will be delivered to Beat the Streets Philadelphia by January 15th.

Deb North, Founder of Yes! Athletics shared her excitement for the program, “This is exactly the type of organization I was looking to support.  I am excited to be able to support BTS Philly and their programs.  If a pair of shoes can prompt a girl to start in this sport, it could change the trajectory of her life considerably.”

Ben Reiter, Senior Director of Development at BTS Philly shares in Deb’s enthusiasm.  “ I am excited to form this partnership and look forward to a long relationship with Yes! Athletics.  We truly appreciate the generosity and passion that this company shows for the sport of wrestling.”

GivingTuesday was launched in 2012 as a simple idea: to create a day that encourages people to do good. Over the past nine years, this idea has grown into a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity.

People demonstrate generosity in many ways on GivingTuesday. Whether it’s helping a neighbor or stranger out, showing up for an issue or people we care about, or giving to causes we care about, every act of generosity counts. GivingTuesday has raised billions of dollars for critical causes around the world and gets 21 billion impressions on social media from people and organizations speaking up for the causes that matter to them and encouraging others to get involved in their communities.

“GivingTuesday inspires people all around the world to embrace their power to drive progress around the causes they care about, not just on one day but throughout the year.” said Asha Curran, GivingTuesday’s CEO, and co-founder. “With country and community leaders, millions of organizations, and countless givers of all kinds, GivingTuesday is creating a shared space where we can see the radical implications of a more generous world.”    

Those who are interested in joining YES! Athletics’ GivingTuesday initiative can visit https://yesathleticsusa.com. For more details about Beat the Streets Philadelphia, visit https://btsphilly.org.  For more details about the GivingTuesday movement, visit the GivingTuesday website (www.givingtuesday.org), Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/GivingTuesday) or follow @GivingTuesday and #GivingTuesday on Twitter. 

About YES! Athletics

YES! Athletics is a sporting goods company by women, for women.  

Born during a wrestling gear shopping trip with her youngest daughter Annie, YES! Athletics empowers young female athletes by filling the gap in sporting goods for girls in sport.

Youth girls participating in traditionally male sports are both vulnerable and brave. Yes! Athletics supports this vulnerability and bravery with sporting goods in feminine styles and colors specifically designed and manufactured for girls with no size conversion needed.  Girls should not be limited in sports by limited options!

YES! Athletics Mission: To empower young females to try sports they might not have previously considered by offering traditionally male sports gear in feminine styles and colors. Yes! Athletics helps females feel welcome and recognized. Offering shoes male athletes have traditionally worn in styles and colors appealing to female athletes, Yes! Athletics supports girls in sport. 

About Beat the Streets Philadelphia

Beat the Streets Philadelphia was founded on the principle that all children have the potential to become productive citizens when provided the proper support. This belief has endured since the establishment of our first program in 2009 located in the city of Camden, NJ.

Beat the Streets Philadelphia Mission: 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.’

About GivingTuesday

GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world. GivingTuesday was created in 2012 as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good. Over the past eight years, it has grown into a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity.

Whether it’s making someone smile, helping a neighbor or stranger out, showing up for an issue or people we care about, or giving some of what we have to those who need our help, every act of generosity counts, and everyone has something to give. GivingTuesday strives to build a world in which the catalytic power of generosity is at the heart of the society we build together, unlocking dignity, opportunity and equity around the globe.