NFL Players Reach Out to LGBT Youth in ‘High Five Initiative’

The 'You Can Play Project' has announced the 'High Five Initiative', a collaboration that will see, in its first project, NFL players interacting one-one-one with LGBT youth, the group announced:

VincentThe initiative will have a soft launch with former NFL players and NFL player engagement executives Troy Vincent (pictured) and Dwight Hollier visiting New York City's Hetrick Martin Institute (HMI), one of the nation's oldest and largest LGBT organizations. The HMI provides lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning (LGBTQ) youth social support and programming ranging from arts and culture to academic enrichment to job readiness.

After today, both organizations will continue to work together to expand the initiative during the 2014 NFL season and have current and former players visit other organizations nationwide.

The project is the first initiative from the group's executive director, former NFL player Wade Davis.

Said Davis: “We believe that the power of story telling is a transformative experience that helps to broaden and foster our understanding of one another. We hope through these one-on-one interactions youth will see they are welcomed in sports."

Added the group:

The name “High Five” for the initiative is important as well, because Glenn Burke, former MLB player and gay male, is credited with inventing the “High Five” and further cementing the connection between LGBT individuals and sports.

“Our goal at You Can Play beyond creating safe spaces for LGBT individuals, is to change the singular narrative that exist about sports. If youth only hear that sports is about toughness, masculinity and violence, some may choose not to play. But when youth learn the true essence of sports is family, solidarity and compassion for all participants, then we will see more youth, especially LGBT youth, understand sports is a place for them,” said Davis.