The Athletic Factory will be expanding its work with student athletes this school year, thanks to a grant from the Community Foundation as well as support from the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Legacy Funds.
“The Community Foundation looks to support all pathways to college, career and life success,” said Hale Walker, Community Foundation grants committee chair. “The Athletic Factory presents a new pathway to support student success.”
The organization received a $9,000 grant from the Foundation in addition to $15,000 in funding from the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Legacy Funds. Along with competitive travel sports programs and training, the Athletic Factory provides free in-school and after-school services to local youth and their families, including academic tutoring, mentoring, and student-athlete college preparation. They currently have 65 student-athletes enrolled in the program, mostly from the south end of Port Huron, 32 of which are considered at risk. After school tutoring is currently only offered at Port Huron High School.
The new funds will be used to help expand the program and offer services to other local high schools, as well as middle schools in the area.
Through a partnership with “Teacher’s Pet Tutoring”, they monitor participants’ academic standing and progress and then provide appropriate interventions and tutoring plans to help them get back on track as needed. The Athletic Factory also provides sessions to help parents and student-athletes understand NCAA and NAIA Eligibility and ensure that they are taking the correct core classes to meet eligibility requirements.
A former college athlete himself, co-founder Cliff Thomason understands the challenges and opportunities college athletics can present. “I am excited to be able to pilot the program in other schools, expanding the impact we can have on preparing local student-athletes for college success,” said Cliff. He also said they will be offering SAT preparation this year. The Athletic Factory’s goal is to help local student-athletes reach their potential and become successful with top-level athletic competition and training, while maintaining high academic achievement in the classroom.