The Play It Forward Award celebrates Oregon high school and college students and nonprofits committed to getting kids active 

November 2015 : Play It Forward Award Winners

Nathan DeVaughn , University of Portland:

Nathan DeVaughn is a Senior at the University of Portland on the Track and Field team. Nathan has become a leader at the University of Portland and among Pilot student-athletes in mentorship and outreach to the local youth community. He volunteers weekly with Playworks at Cesar Chavez School to promote healthy play and fitness on the playground, as well as anti-bullying messaging. Nathan facilitates recess activities, creates a culture of fair play, and works on inclusion. He also coordinated to have the entire Pilot track team go through the Playworks training to get his fellow teammates certified as Playworks Coaches. Now many of his teammates and fellow student athletes join him on trips to the school and he hopes the relationship between UP and Cesar Chavez continues after he graduates.

Nathan also serves as a youth mentor for a current at-risk fifth grader at Holy Cross Elementary School one hour per week. He has mentored the student for the last three years. The student is also passionate about sports and Nathan's background and supportive attitude over the last three years has been very impactful. In addition to promoting a healthly lifestyle through athletics and activities, Nathan also sits in on classes, helps with assignments, and fosters positive behavioral attitudes.

Ben Sprouse, Central Catholic High School:

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Ben Sprouse is a Senior at Central Catholic High School, playing on the school’s Ultimate Frisbee club team. Ben has spent a significant amount of time supporting the local Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland, especially in their sport, fitness and recreation programming. He has helped to develop a curriculum for use by the club as well. In addition to his work with the Boys & Girls Club, Ben has volunteered time with the Northwest Trail Alliance to help construct bike trails for use by the community. Ben has actively helped contribute to promoting sport, physical activity, recreation and a balanced lifestyle for youth and young adults in the Portland community. 


November 2015 : Play It Forward Award Fund Recipient

Elite Sports Academy (ESA)


Elite Sports Academy (ESA) is home to The Academy, a 12-week long summer program held in North Portland.  The kids attending The Academy will participate in basketball, soccer, football, and volleyball. In addition to the daily sport training, the kids also have an hour each day focused on education. The combination of athletic and academic training sessions provide these kids with guidance in areas such as self-confidence, teamwork, leadership, nutrition and healthy living habits, and many more valuable subjects that will help them grow on and off of the court. The camp isopen to kids in grades 1-8 from underserved communities in North Portland. This program strives to give kids the opportunity to reach their highest potential, both athletically and academically, regardless of race, ethnicity or socio-economic status.