By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Despite the 1749 speech by Ben Franklin urging athletic education, its start was slow at the University of Pennsylvania. But Penn has recently shown leadership when former wrestlers, Brett and Clint Matter, “gave back to sport and city that gave them so much.”

Donating mats and uniforms, they began a non-profit organization, Beat the Streets, combining wrestling with tutoring and mentoring. Today there are more than 900 kids participating in the program.

Sushaan Modi’s article in The Daily Pennsylvanian cites Jose Carlos Melendez who missed 100 days of school. He started wrestling practice, went to summer wrestling camp, and when he returned, had only 6 absences, 5 excused, and passed all but one school subject.

There are more than 21 schools with Beat the Streets teams in the Philadelphia area, and growing. Rob Schloss, wrestling coach at Bok Tech High School, says wrestling teaches the fundamentals for successful living – hard work, perseverance and determination.

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