Anthony Martin’s Urban Youth Racing School puts at-risk children in the driver’s seat.
Author Layla Schlack Photography Jared Castaldi
WHO • ANTHONY MARTIN, 45
MISSION • To foster confidence and teamwork by exposing city children to motor sports (using half-size stock cars called Super Mini Cups). “Not all kids can slam dunk a basketball or run a four-point-two-second forty,” Martin says. “But they can race cars and work on a racing team, so they can be part of something.” His Urban Youth Racing School offers afternoon programs and a summer camp that help keep kids in Philadelphia’s and Washington, D.C.’s roughest neighborhoods out of harm’s way. “We’ve had kids who were on the verge of dropping out of high school, and we pulled them back from that,” he says. “Some of them have stuck with it and now work on professional racing teams.”
MOTIVATION • “Growing up in Southwest Philly, in the ’hood, as we say, I had people who helped me out,” Martin explains. “I wanted to give back to the community after I made it out.” Martin, who previously founded the Philadelphia Youth Recreation Association, chose to focus on racing primarily because it was something city kids wouldn’t have access to otherwise. “All kids love cars,” he says.
IF HE WEREN’T DOING THIS… • Martin had a successful career in sports marketing before crossing over into nonprofit work. Among his achievements: patenting the gold-tipped shoelace and breaking the world jumping jacks record, twice. Learn more about him and his organization at www.urbanyouthracingschool.com