2012 Director’s Community Leadership Awards
The Seattle Division is pleased to honor Martin Sanelli, founder of a youth football and cheer program, as a recipient of the 2012 Director’s Community Leadership Award.
In 2010, Mr. Sanelli founded the Northeast Tacoma Tigers Junior Football Organization. The program provides a respectful and positive environment for young people in first through eighth grades to safely challenge themselves physically and mentally and to develop team skills. Mr. Sanelli created the program in response to a spike in loitering and crimes committed by youth and young adults in Northeast Tacoma. The program has grown from just 38 players in 2010 to more than 100 players in 2012. In 2011, the organization launched a cheerleading team and welcomed 50 participants in 2012. Mr. Sanelli is dedicated to providing positive role models for the children. He has spent hundreds of hours serving as league president and coach and has recruited many former college athletes to be coaches. He also requires that all volunteers undergo criminal record checks.
In support of the Northeast Tacoma Tigers, the Tacoma Public School System lends the organization use of school system-owned practice fields and a stadium. Many neighborhood merchants also sponsor the program. Due to widespread community support, the organization is able to provide program scholarships to youth in low-income areas.