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Created May 10, 2018

Rob Thelusma

"My Affirmative Message" Challenge

Affirmative Athletics challenges you to share a phrase/quote/saying that will have the most impact on our kids. The language we use at Affirmative Athletics reinforces how our kids see themselves in the world … and we want YOU to help us create that language.

Think about it this way: What’s the most “affirming” message you could say to someone?
Maybe it’s:
"I see you."
"I believe in you."
Or, "You can accomplish anything if you set your mind to it."

The phrase with the most votes will be shared with the kids on day one of the fall semester, in our writing curriculum and reinforced on the field of play. You will help in rebuilding lives around this message, so please give this some deep thought and make it something that REALLY resonates.

May 1st – August 31st


1. Enter the ‘My Affirmative Message’ Challenge by posting a short video or picture along with your ‘Affirmative Message’ that will connect with the youth supported by Affirmative Athletics. Invite your friends, fans and teammates to vote for your message.


2. Simply vote for your favorite ‘Affirmative Message’. The first vote is free. Additional votes cast with a $1 per vote donation that directly supports Affirmative Athletics.

The Top-Vote Getter invited to share their Affirmative Message with kids in person. Affirmative Athletics t-shirt featuring the winning message will be provided to all donors with minimum $50 donation.

Watch the leaderboards that feature ‘Most Votes’ and ‘Most Donations.’

Share your post with friends, family, fans and teammates using email and social media to invite them to vote for their favorite ‘Affirmative Message’, or join the ‘My Affirmative Message’ Challenge with their own entry.

Who You’ll Help

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AFFIRMATIVE ATHLETICS was founded in 2005 by Rob Thelusma at Camp Fred Miller, a Juvenile Probation Facility housing mostly Black & Latino boys. Rob’s poetry writing class was the only outlet available for these emotionally distressed kids to constructively deal with inner frustrations and destructive behaviors.

Recognizing the need for more than writing in their development, Rob was inspired to start a Flag Football program with just 4 teams. During that first season, staff saw strong positive attitude shifts and a big decrease in fighting. A Basketball program soon followed, along with descriptive journal writing during their journey. This new curriculum brought out the best in these youth and created positive energy at the facility.

Since then, AFFIRMATIVE ATHLETICS has mentored over 400 incarcerated youth at facilities across Southern California and is now working with an LA Charter School network that is lacking the necessary resources to provide affirming sports programming. Please visit

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