Championship Saturday is a full-inclusion peer mentor sports program in which economically disadvantaged and underserved middle school students from the Team Prime Time after-school program ("coaches") coach, mentor and play alongside children with developmental disabilities ("athletes") in the only program of its kind in the country. UCLA student-athletes will play a valuable role by providing support for the coaches in what has become known as the "Mentor the Mentors" component of the program. Bruin student-athletes will also serve as head coaches and ambassadors at the event.
Opening ceremonies featuring UCLA basketball legend Tyus Edney and other notable UCLA alumni will begin at 9am on UCLA's North Athletic Field. Soccer commences soon thereafter, while the basketball teams play in the Student Activities Center (SAC). Team Prime Time’s Varsity Games full-inclusion high school basketball league then plays in SAC at 11am to decide the City Championship. All six high school teams will be in action as Hamilton HS looks to repeat as City Champ.
UCLA head athletic performance coach Mike Linn, who brought the Prime Time Games to UCLA, said, "This unique program builds much-needed self-esteem and self-confidence in two uniquely different population groups through sports. The lessons learned through coaching. as well as through participation in sports, are long-lasting and should be available for all to experience. This one-day event highlights the Team Prime Time program and their many participants."
The Prime Time Games began in the fall of 2004 with 20 athletes from six LAUSD schools. By Spring 2005, the program had nearly tripled in size. To date, over 400 athletes with developmental disabilities ranging from autism to Down syndrome have participated in the Prime Time Games. At the core of the Prime Time Games lies the very simple premise that bringing two “high-risk” populations together, united by a shared love of sport, will generate lasting benefits for everyone involved.