Skip to main content
A community college sponsored by Niagara County

© 2019 SUNY Niagara | All rights reserved.

Girl Power Volleyball Tournament Held at SUNY Niagara

December 12, 2019

SUNY Niagara hosted a “Girl Power” youth volleyball tournament on December 11, 2019 for over one hundred girls from Niagara Falls and North Tonawanda intermediate schools as part of a $400,000 grant from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation.  The three-year grant supports a youth sport/leadership program between SUNY Niagara and the Niagara Falls and North Tonawanda School districts. The Wilson Foundation is currently driving the “Project Play: Western New York” initiative aimed at getting and keeping more youth in sports. The three schools participating this semester are North Tonawanda Intermediate, Cataract, and Hyde Park Middle Schools in Niagara Falls.  The participants are girls ages 11-12 from each of the school’s fifth-grade classes.

For the past several weeks, the girls have participated in a series of youth volleyball training programs that included leadership instruction in support of the principles outlined in the “State of Play: Western New York” report.  Participants concluded their training yesterday with a “friendship tournament” held at the SUNY Niagara Sanborn campus.

School representatives from the middle schools said the participants’ attendance improved on the days that they had volleyball because they did not want to miss the practice.   Katie Smith, from North Tonawanda Intermediate School, said, “There are so many great things about this program. In addition to having an opportunity for physical fitness, the girls formed friendships with each other and nurturing relationships with the coach/mentors.”

“College students from the SUNY Niagara Physical Education, Childhood Education, Recreation Studies and Sports Management programs have received training as coaches which support the College’s mission to provide experiential learning and enrich and strengthen the educational experience for all students involved,” said Dr. William Murabito, SUNY Niagara President. “These students can then possibly obtain future employment as coaches; provide community outreach and instill a lifelong appreciation of sports and physical fitness that will result in healthy life choices for the participants.”

Two new schools will participate in the Girl Power program in the spring – 79th Street School and Harry F. Abate School.  In addition, organizers plan to offer a Girl Power summer camp and expand programming to include talks on nutrition and opportunities in STEM.  For more information on the Girl Power program:

About the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation:

The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation is a grantmaking organization dedicated primarily to sustained investment in the quality of life of the people of Southeast Michigan and Western New York. The two areas reflect Ralph C. Wilson, Jr.’s devotion to his hometown of Detroit and greater Buffalo, home of his Buffalo Bills franchise. Prior to his passing in 2014, Mr. Wilson requested that a significant share of his estate be used to continue a life-long generosity of spirit by funding the Foundation that bears his name. The Foundation has a grantmaking capacity of $1.2 billion over a 20-year period, which expires January 8, 2035. This structure is consistent with Mr. Wilson’s desire for the Foundation’s impact to be immediate, substantial, measurable and overseen by those who knew him best. For more information visit

About SUNY Niagara:

SUNY Niagara is one of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York, the largest public university system in the country. The College provides more than 50 academic programs to over 5,000 students and is funded by the Niagara County Legislature, the State University of New York, and student tuition. For more information visit