GOAL! Starfinder's soccer, educational, and personal development programs inspire young people from underserved communities to achieve success both on and off the field. Starfinder promotes youth leadership, a love of learning, the benefits of teamwork, and the rewards of commitment and responsibility.
Founded in 2002, Starfinder is a not-for-profit organization based in the Manayunk section of Philadelphia and serving children and youth in the Greater Philadelphia area.
Starfinder pairs athletic instruction with a range of educational and enrichment programs, delivered after school during the academic year and at summer camps. Programs take place in our 30,000 square foot indoor soccer and education facility as well as at schools and recreation centers around the region.
Annually Starfinder works with approximately 600-700 children and youth, ages 6-18, for an average of over 60 hours each. Our student body is ethnically and racially diverse and includes a significant number of new immigrants (representing over 40 countries!), as well as residents of some of the city's most profoundly underserved communities.
Broadly speaking, the problem Starfinder seeks to solve is this: even in the poorest neighborhoods, Greater Philadelphia's young people have no shortage of aspiration. What they too frequently lack are the stable relationships with adults and institutions through which to learn and follow the step-by-step procedures needed to realize their dreams.
Our combination of athletic, educational, and personal enrichment programs are designed to help these young people aspire to, and achieve, the highest levels of success, both on and off the field. We want to inspire and motivate them. We want to help them enjoy success in practical ways on a daily basis while they have fun with their peers. We want them to avoid bad decisions at school and in their personal lives, and stay on track towards a diploma and a bright future.
In a city where 45% of public school 6th graders fail to graduate from high school, we encourage our participants to aspire to more challenging learning environments, to graduate from high school, and to pursue post-secondary education.
Above all, we want to teach these young people how to match their boundless aspiration with purposeful action, finding the "stars" in themselves, and becoming agents of positive change for the region we all share.