Where The Opportunity For Change Exists
Albert Haynes is the Executive Director of Athletes United. He founded the non-profit organization in March 2011 and is a former athlete and graduate of the University of South Carolina in Columbia. As a student athlete at the University of South Carolina, he suffered a major injury while playing on the football team. Though Mr. Haynes graduated and received his bachelor’s degree, he experienced struggle in obtaining that degree following his injury. However; while in the hospital recovering, Mr. Haynes understood that it was important to keep up with his academic studies. He realized it was going to be a long hard road in order to graduate now that his scholarship and college funding was in jeopardy. As he traveled between class and physical therapy, he was motivated to research how many student athletes successfully completed their degrees after an injury or some other financial hardship.
During his research, Mr. Haynes discovered that two out of five student athletes who participate in football, basketball or baseball will not graduate from college in four, five or even six years. This confirmed that there is a great need for an organization that will assist those former athletes who became displaced. Collegiate athletes face a number of spheres of influence in relation to sports and each has its own set of messages. These messages often do not include information on "life after sports".
At Athletes United, Mr. Haynes came to recognize that he could have more of an effect on his community by providing youth with guidance and a full understanding of the endless possibilities available through college and athletics. What better way than exposing them to mentors who have walked the path before them and could act as positive role models?
His mission and objective for Athletes United became clear...To positively affect social change by training former athletes in life coaching skills which will allow them to provide a comprehensive support system to young people in the community. Our youth will reach their full potential as productive citizens, in a safe environment to play, learn and excel as leaders. In doing so, we will assist the youth in becoming responsible and caring citizens with confidence, enhanced leadership and positive decision-making skills.