by Misty Millhorn –
National champions: The South Mountain Youth Center Pregnancy Prevention Volleyball Team with coaches Bob Wycoff and Eva Pulido.
The Salvation Army’s South Mountain Youth Center Pregnancy Prevention Volleyball Team recently won a national gold medal, making them the top volleyball team in the country! They became number one after taking the national championship title at the Starlings National Championship Tournament in San Diego.
The 16-year-old team members played 18 games before winning their gold medal on June 27. The girls not only play volleyball, but they are also required to maintain a “C” level grade point average, and participate in safe sex courses. The program began eight years ago, and since its inception, only three unplanned pregnancies have been reported.
The Center is also celebrating the success of 12 basketball team members who have received college scholarships to schools including the University of Utah, Arizona State University, Cal State University, Stephens Tech University, and Northern Arizona University. Many of these basketball players began participating in activities at the Center more than 10 years ago. They now have plans to major in areas such as architectural engineering, law, and medicine.
The Salvation Army’s South Mountain Youth Center is located in South Phoenix and offers athletic programs, a tutoring program through Arizona State University, and other after-school activities to more than 1,100 underserved youth each day. The majority of youth who participate in activities at the Center come from broken homes and neighborhoods where peer pressure to join gangs and do drugs is prominent.