Imagine being a 15-year-old high school athlete with the opportunity to be mentored by an Olympian. 🤯 A nonprofit with ties to Chattanooga is making that fantasy a reality.
The True Athlete Project’s Global Athlete Mentoring Program pairs top-level athletes (Olympic, Paralympic + other elite athletes) with mentees ages 15-24 for a year-long, holistic curriculum that includes themes like performance, social responsibility, mindfulness, and athlete identity + values.
🏅Program growth in Chattanooga
- Chattanooga athletes are participating in the program (including the CFC goalkeeper — we’ll have more about that in a minute), and the nonprofit’s leaders have a “huge goal” to get more Chattanoogans involved.
- Leaders are also looking for Chattanooga businesses to sponsor scholarships
🏅How it started
The True Athlete Project founder Sam Parfitt — a Norfolk, England native — is a former UTC tennis player and former Director of Athletics at St. Peter’s School. He’s worked as a professional tennis coach + certified mindfulness teacher.
For the True Athlete Project, he’s developed a network of elite athletes who focus on the whole person during the sports mentorship.
Sam came up with the idea after struggling with his physical and mental health when he was a NCAA Division 1 tennis player.
🏅By the numbers
The newest cohort includes:
- 68 athletes
- 33 sports
- 10 countries
🏅CFC goalkeeper joins
The Chattanooga Football Club’s goalkeeper Alec Redington is representing the Scenic City after recently being accepted into the program, thanks to a scholarship from CFC.
Alec has been paired with Talan Skeels-Piggins, a 2010 Paralympics competitor.
Alec’s fast facts
- He’s a 21-year-old from Kirkwood, Missouri.
- He started with CFC during its inaugural professional season in 2020.
- He started in 11 of 14 matches.
Talan’s fast facts
- He’s a British athlete, former Royal Navy fighter controller + PE teacher
- He was paralyzed from the chest down following a motorcycle accident in 2003.
- After the accident, he started skiing and made it his mission to compete in the Paralympics.
- He made it to the 2010 Paralympics.
- He founded a charity, called “The Bike Experience,” to help motorcycle riders who are paraplegic to ride again.
- He became the first paraplegic in the history of motor-racing to compete against “able-bodied” racers in solo motorcycles.
🏅How to get involved + get more information
The year-long program costs $1,200, and the nonprofit is fundraising to be able to provide more scholarships.