Dr. Dawn Anderson-Butcher, professor in the College of Social Work, co-founded, with the Department of Athletics, Ohio State's LiFEsports Initiative. She is the executive director of teaching/research for that program. The LiFEsports Initiative is a nationally recognized sport-based positive youth development program that leverages the resources of the community and Ohio State to teach social skills to underserved and vulnerable youth in Central Ohio. Launched 10 years ago, LiFEsports is a national model for university-community partnership and community engaged scholarship.
Since 2008 over 10,000 youth have been served during the summer in the month-long camp on the Ohio State campus. Youth learn important social skills, such as self-control, effort, teamwork and social responsibility. The program consists of an evidence-based sport curriculum that is designed and researched under Dr. Anderson-Butcher's direction. Additionally, 62 former campers who are now in high school joined a year long LiFEsports Youth Leadership Academy (YLA), ensuring these youth make progress towards college and careers following camp experiences. With its commitment to concurrent rigorous research the program is not just summer camp. It's the science of summer camp.
Additionally, Dr. Anderson-Butcher's community-engaged scholarship extends to her work in school districts in Central Ohio and across the country. She led a team to develop the Community Collaboration Model (CCM), an evidence-based framework to support districts/schools in developing partnerships to meet student needs. This work continues to guide school and district efforts to build stronger systems of support for the most vulnerable students.
Her research agenda focuses on exploring outcomes associated with sports-based youth development, as well as determining the highest impact program activities. Dr. Anderson-Butcher has published over 100 peer reviewed articles in high impact journals. She presents her research at national and international forums and is a highly sought keynote speaker. She has generated over 13 million dollars in funding to support research, teaching, and outreach agendas.