T.U.F.F. Kids was the conception of a few graduates of Cleveland High School during their middle school years. The students vowed that upon graduation and starting a successful career they would return home to provide the kids with more than they had while growing up in the small town. In April 2010 Ivan Williams, one of the former students, was approached by then Mayor Pro-Tem Barbara McIntyre and given the charge to come up with something for the youth to do because the city’s pool would be out of commission for the summer. Ivan then reached out to his old friends, classmates and family members to make a forgotten vow a reality.
The group soon realized that what they all had in common besides growing up in Cleveland was that they were all former athletes, had excelled academically in high school and they still had the desire to make their community a better place to live. The mission of TUFF Kids is “To develop and create physically active and healthy youth while inspiring academic excellence and personal development.” Through this process the kids will become Trained, Unwavering, Focused and Fit.
What began as a vision shared by several bold and ambitious individuals has paved the way for TUFF Kids. These ambitious individuals wanted to use their collective strengths to promote enhanced academic preparation, character building and leadership skills to students between the ages of seven and eighteen. They joined forces to provide effective solutions to issues impacting students having difficulties with the TAKS exams, math, basic reading skills, finance, health, sex education and the fundamentals of sports.
Since its founding the organization has since become a pillar within the community. The healthy meals, group discussions, tutoring, field trips, physical education, motivational speakers and mentoring TUFF Kids provides is unparalleled by any other organization in the community. TUFF Kids recognizes the advantage of collaboration and often does so to meet community needs. The organization’s staff were recognized and thanked by the city council in 2010 and again in 2014 for supporting the new city municipal park.
TUFF Kids is a 501c3 non-profit organization which operates solely on the support of volunteers, donations and sponsors. The increasing demands of the 21st century mandate our youth to be better leaders at a younger age. It requires them to make smarter choices with a defined and positive consequence. The TUFF Kids staff recognizes the heightened needs of our community youth and is willing to sacrifice what we can today for what they can become tomorrow.