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Team Prime Time: Helping Our Kids When it Matters Most

Team Prime Time's mission is to provide intervention programs for at-risk children from low-income areas of Los Angeles that combine academics, athletics, leadership training and the arts in order to prepare them for the future and allow them to reach their full potential.

PRIME TIME GAMES℠ (the GAMES) is Team Prime Time’s full-inclusion, peer-mentor sports program wherein the TPT students coach and play alongside children with developmental disabilities, including autism. As the centerpiece of the TPT Leadership component, the GAMES give at-risk middle school students the opportunity to give back to their community by creating an invaluable social and recreational environment that is truly a win-win situation, with both “athlete” and “coach” enjoying benefits that last a lifetime.

Each Academic Year consists of three 10-week seasons at the middle school level: Fall, Winter and Spring. The Fall and Spring Seasons culminate with CHAMPIONSHIP SATURDAY, which is hosted by the UCLA Athletic Department in Spring. All told, the middle school “coaches” and “athletes” work together 30 weeks a year! 

Building upon the formula that has made the GAMES such a success at the middle school level, the Varsity Games℠ creates full-inclusion teams by pairing underprivileged youth and children with special needs from the same high school. These blended teams compete against one another in the only League of its kind, giving children with developmental challenges the only real opportunity to participate in a mainstream high school sports experience (The "Varsity" experience). The Varsity Games were featured in the Wall Street Journal in May!

In 2012, Autism Speaks provided Team Prime Time with a grant to provide scholarships for 20 children with autism from low-income families so that they would have the opportunity to participate in the Fall, 2012 season, which culminated in Championship Saturday on December 1st.

Student Testimonials

"Prime time camp has been one of the best experiences in Harrison’s teenage years. Besides the obvious health benefit by getting him off the couch and away from the video games, prime time has instilled in him an understanding of the importance of teamwork and community. Prime time also gave him structure and confidence. He made friends that he still keeps in contact with today. You and all your volunteers are such caring wonderful people. Prime time was such a blessing in our lives."
- Harrison's Mom

"It’s very hard to express how important the Prime Time Games has been to our family. It was the beginning of our new approach away from a 1:1 adult socialization/supervision and more towards peer – based social interaction.  I love that the boys are allowed to be themselves and participate at their own level and pace. I don’t know of any other program where they would be able to do this because the Prime Time Games supports the kids at their unique levels."
- Wyatt and Joaquin's Parents

Learn more about Team Prime Time and the Prime Time Games here!

This is the fifth post in a series this week highlighting after school programs for individuals with autism! Check out Autism Foundation of the Carolina's Inclusion-Based Program, New York Transit Museum's Subway Sleuths Program, SNAP Mentor Programs and SNACK and Friends for more great ideas!

The Autism Speaks blog features opinions from people throughout the autism community. Each blog represents the point of view of the author and does not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks' beliefs or point of view.