Prime Time Games 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 and play alongside children with developmental disabilities ("athletes") in the only program of its kind in the country. Championship Saturday, which is the culmination of the season, featured UCLA student-athletes providing support for the coaches in soccer and basketball in the "Mentor the Mentors" component of the program.
"It's awesome," said cross country runner Caitlin Schmitt. "This was my first year doing Prime Time Games, and the experience was fantastic. The kids were so sweet, so nice, so enthusiastic."
"It's a great experience for them, but honestly it's just as fun for us," men's basketball player Bryce Alford added. "The whole team - all the athletes here love to come out and support the cause."
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.