Importance of Athletics in Youth and Adolescents

Project Description

By T.J. Cox

Athletics are an important aspect in people’s everyday lives, and with children and adolescents, it’s no different. Physical activity not only has an immense impact on a child’s physical health and development, but also on their psychological health and well-being.

According to research from the University of Missouri, athletics have a wide range of benefits—five exactly.

  • Athletes do better academically. Sports require memorization, repetition and learning, which are the skillsets directly related to class work.
  • Sports teach teamwork and problem solving skills. Athletes are all fighting for a common goal, to win. By doing this, players and coaches teach them how to build teamwork and effectively communicate to solve problems.
  • Sports boost self-esteem. Watching your hard work pay off by achieving goals you’ve set for yourself can help with developing self-confidence.
  • Sports can produce physical health benefits. Sports can help you reach your fitness goals and maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.
  • Sports may reduce pressure and stress. Exercising is a natural way to loosen up and let go of built up stress. You can also make lifelong friends with your teammates who can be there for you as part of your support system.

Central Valley NMTC understands how important athletics are to youth and adolescents, which is why they stepped in to help give back. They didn’t help with just one project related to athletics; they helped with three.

One of those projects was the revitalization of an abandoned 18-acre community sports complex—Granite Park.

Granite Park was originally created in the mold of a “Big League Dreams” concept that was supposed to provide first-class baseball, softball and soccer fields to the community, and to attract state and regional wide sporting tournaments. Granite Park was constructed in 2006, but only operated for 18 months due to a debt of $5 million. The city was unable to help due to their financial position, and those children’s dreams of playing were left shattered.

That is until Central Valley NMTC stepped in.

Central Valley Community Sports Foundation proposed to rehabilitate and re-open this project, and Central Valley NMTC provided pre-development funding, secured construction and permanent financing.

“A lot of people essentially gave up and lost hope that Granite Park would be completed,” said T.J. Cox, Central Valley NMTC founder. “Now people have a place to come and just play, and it’s really special that we were able to assist with that. ”

Central Valley NMTC directly financed $1.6 million, which created 12 construction jobs, and 18 full-time equivalent jobs. The revitalization of Granite Park not only created jobs, but it also brought a community of athletes together. Granite Park sees roughly 90,000 visitors annually, and provides free recreational programming for non-profit partners.

Granite Park wasn’t the only baseball facility they invested in. Central Cal Baseball Academy entered into a partnership with the City of Fresno to adopt Al Radka Park. This agreement stipulated that Central Cal Baseball Academy would put forth a minimum of $80,000 of improvements into the park. Central Cal Baseball Academy was able to provide a better environment for baseball, secure the club a permanent home, and provide extra days for the local little league to hold games, which expanded that league’s enrollment by roughly 100 kids.

Central Valley NMTC provided $40,000 of grant funds, which was matched by Central Cal Baseball Academy and City sources. This allowed a non-profit to adopt and rehabilitate a city-owned park, and allowed non-profit to expand programming for local youths.

Central Valley NMTC shifted gears away from baseball, and turned their attention to the rink for Gateway Ice Center & Fresno Monsters.

Gateway Ice Center and the Fresno Monsters were acquired by Central Valley Community Sports Foundation (CVCSF) after years on thin-ice. Gateway Ice Center has over 70,000 annual visitors, and is the only rink open to the public within a 100-mile radius of Fresno. Gateway Ice Center regularly hosts community groups such as Big Brothers and big Sisters, Children’s Hospital Adaptive Sports, and the Boys & Girls Club for individual and group events.

Central Valley NMTC provided critical working capital and acquisition financing, which allowed CVCSF to secure a $2.5 million donation of equipment, fixtures and supplies necessary to maintain operations at the facility.

The impact this had went beyond just the Fresno Monsters.

Central Valley NMTC helped keep open the only ice rink within a 100-mile radius, saved 12 FTE jobs, and established a site for summer lunch programs for under-privileged children.

This combined with the previous projects gave youth and adolescents a place to come and play, and do something they love. Without Central Valley NMTC’s help, none of this would be possible.

Does Your Project Qualify Geographically?
Capital for Central Valley Communities
Close Menu
Lillian Macías Weiland

Lillian Macías Weiland, JD

Central Valley NMTC Fund, LLC ​


Lillian Macías Weiland holds a law degree from San Joaquin College of Law and an undergraduate degree in business. Ms. Weiland was born and raised in Guasti, a small village, and then Ontario, both in Southern California. She lived and observed first-hand the burdens and benefits of living in low-income communities. She has made her home in Fresno since 1988. Ms. Weiland attained her undergrad degree while working full-time. During law school, Ms. Weiland managed a law firm and managed volunteers for various non-profit organizations. Since graduating from law school, she has applied her education and experience to generate new revenue for non-profit organizations. Her ventures have also included oversight and implementation of beautification projects at local schools. She continues to volunteer with women’s service organizations and is part of a reading program at Rescue the Children, CVNMTC’s first project. Ms. Weiland is fluent in written and spoken Spanish. Ms. Weiland provides compliance, loan serving and monitoring, administrative assistance for all CDE operations, and marketing.
Esperanza Vielma

Esperanza Vielma

Café Coop


Esperanza Vielma is a dedicated advocate for the equitable economic development of the San Joaquin Valley. In 2014, Ms. Vielma founded Cafe Coop, the first nonprofit cooperative for startup companies, entrepreneurs, freelancers, and artists in San Joaquin County. She is an active voice for the environmental justice community in the San Joaquin Valley and currently serves as the Environmental Justice Director for Restore the Delta, an advocacy group that works in the areas of public education and outreach for the conservation of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta. In addition, Ms. Vielma, serves as chair of the Environmental Justice Advisory Group for the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District and as Board Vice President for the Environmental Justice Coalition for Water.   In 2016, Ms. Vielma was nominated and selected to be part of the Delta Leadership Program’s inaugural Class of 2016 by the State of California’s Delta Protection Commission. Esperanza also serves as the representative for San Joaquin County on the San Joaquin Valley Rail Committee and represents entrepreneurs on the board of the State-approved iHub San Joaquin.   A graduate of the University of California, Ms. Vielma serves on the California Alumni Association Board of Directors and is Vice President of the UC Berkeley Chicano Latino Alumni Association and Scholarship Chair for the Cal Club of San Joaquin County.

Michael Tubbs

Michael Tubbs

City of Stockton


On November 8, 2016, Tubbs was elected to serve as mayor of the City of Stockton. Upon taking his office in January 2017, Michael is Stockton’s youngest mayor and the city’s first African-American mayor. Michael Tubbs is also the youngest mayor in the nation representing a city with over 100,000 residents. Michael Tubbs has served as Stockton, California’s, District 6 City Councilmember since 2013. Elected at age 22, he became one of the youngest City Councilmembers in the nation. He overcame adversity to rise to this position, having been born to an incarcerated father and teenage mother in Stockton, once designated one of America’s most dangerous cities. As a youth, Michael excelled in school and obtained a full scholarship to Stanford University, where he graduated in 2012 with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree with honors. He is also a Fellow at the Stanford Institute of Design. As a Councilmember and Mayor, Michael has focused on poverty reduction, community engagement and organizing. Through collective impact strategies he is working to deepen his impact as mayor.

Richard Valle

Richard Valle

Kings County

Board of Supervisors, District 2

Mr. Valle serves as Kings County Supervisor for District 2, which includes the towns of Kettleman City, Avenal and Corcoran. The overall poverty rate in his district is over 30%. Mr. Valle is a long-time resident of Kings County, born in Corcoran and graduating from Corcoran High School in 1988. In 1990, Mr. Valle enrolled in the United States Marine Corps, serving proudly for 6 years. After being honorably discharged, he returned to Corcoran and became an audit inspector at Santa Rosa Rancheria. Returning to school, he completed his degree in Human Resource Management and in 2003 was hired and served as a Field Representative for Assemblywoman Nicole Parra. His passion for public service led him to pursue a seat on the Kings County Board of Supervisors. In November 2008, the citizens of his county honored him by electing him as Supervisor for District 2. In 2012, due to his hard work and effectiveness in representing his constituents, he was overwhelmingly re-elected to the Board of Supervisors.

Bobby Kahn

Bobby Kahn

California Central Valley Economic Development Corporation


Mr. Kahn currently serves as Secretary/Treasury of the California Central Valley Economic Development Corporation. CCVEDC’s mission is job creation within an 8-county region that makes up California’s Central Valley – a region whose unemployment rates range from 1.44 – 1.65 times the State’s average.   Mr. Kahn also serves as the Executive Director of the Madera County Economic Development Commission (MCEDC), a joint powers agency comprised of the County of Madera, the City of Madera and the City of Chowchilla that serves to improve the economic conditions and lives of the people within Madera County.   The efforts of MCEDC are greatly needed. In February 2017, the unemployment rate in Madera County was 10.0% compared to a national average of 4.7%.   The poverty rate for individuals is 21%. Over 30% of children within the County live below the poverty line. In his capacity as Executive Director, the MCEDC develops the comprehensive economic development and jobs growth plan and strategies for the County of Madera and its Cities. Mr. Kahn has also served as: Chairman, Central California Valley Economic Development Corp., Founding Member, Madera Compact; Member, Past Board Member, Madera Private Industry Council; Past President, Madera Chamber of Commerce; Past Chairman, Madera City Planning Commission; Past President, Madera Community Hospital Foundation.

Melinda Brown

Melinda Brown

Kern County Economic Development Corporation

Director of Business Development

Melinda Brown has been Director of Business Development at Kern Economic Development Corporation, Bakersfield, California since October 2004. Her primary focus is the development and promotion of Healthcare Services and Business Services, Advanced Manufacturing and Value Added Agriculture, industries. In her capacity as Director of Business Development she has attracted numerous companies, including several Fortune 1000 organizations, to locate or expand their operations in Kern County, Successful clients have generated approximately $250 million in capital investment and nearly 5,000 family-wage jobs.   Melinda has also been a leader in the business retention and expansion program within the organization. Last year alone, the team visited over 200 businesses to offer services to assist in business enhancement needs with a focus on workforce placement. Melinda is actively involved with the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, (CSCMP), Bakersfield West Rotary Club, Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR), and the California Central Valley Economic Development. Prior to joining Kern EDC, Melinda spent 14 years as an executive with the Kaiser Permanente.

Oliver Baines III

Oliver Baines III


Central Valley NMTC, LLC

Oliver Baines is a 25-year resident of Fresno with an extensive record of community service. His professional career began in law enforcement as a police officer for the Fresno Police Department. During his 11 years as a Fresno Police officer, he was a highly decorated officer, receiving two Life Saving Medals, 2008 Officer of The Year recognition, Chief’s Commendations, and multiple Peer Commendations. Mr. Baines’ experience in community policing caused him to run and become a Councilmember for the City of Fresno, representing District 3 from 2011 to 2019. During this time as Councilmember, he was active in many programs addressing the economic, social, and environmental problems afflicting Fresno including Workforce Investment Board, the Fresno Works, the San Joaquin Valley Air Board District, the Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Fresno, along with numerous community-based programs. Mr. Baines also became involved in workforce development programs and was Founder of the Valley Apprenticeship Connections (VAC), a workforce development program that focuses preparing young men and women from the hardest neighborhoods to serve populations in the Fresno Region for a career in the Construction Trades. Since 2016 the VAC has had 339 students enrolled, 250 completed (73%), with 196 gaining employment (78%) with wages averaging over $20/hour, and 185 students (94%) keeping employment. Mr. Baines was a Board Member of CVNMTC for nine years and recently he transitioned to the roll of President and CEO of CVNMTC. During his time on the Board, he was actively involved in sourcing deals from the Fresno area and was involved in the Board approval process for CVNMTC’s investments of $95M of Allocation with $140M in project costs. Currently oversees CVNMTC’s last investment of $25M into project that will greatly revitalize an impoverished area of Fresno.

Ricardo Arredondo

Madera Unified School District

Trustee, Area 6

Ricardo Arredondo is serving his second term on the Madera Unified School District. A resident of a LIC, he was first elected in 2009 and is the Board’s current president. Mr. Arredondo serves the District’s Area 6, which comprises areas in the central, east and southeast parts of the district, which are all extremely economically distressed neighborhoods. Mr. Arredondo is the Board liaison to Chavez Elementary, Martin Luther King Middle School, Millview Elementary and Madera South High career school (School of Business and Human Services). In his capacity as a Board Trustee, Mr. Arredondo also serves on the following committees: Alternative Governance Board, Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee, Construction Review Advisory Committee, District English Language Learner Advisory Committee, School to Career Advisory Committee, Site Selection Committee, California Association of Suburban School Districts, County Coalition Executive Committee, and Inter-Agency Committee. Mr. Arredondo also serves on the Oversight Board for the Successor Agency to the former Madera Redevelopment Agency. In this capacity, Mr. Arredondo provides guidance and direction to the local agencies that would benefit from property tax distributions and investments from the Successor Agency to former redevelopment project areas.