Each year, since becoming an Olympic Gold Medallist, Andrew Valmon has received numerous requests for appearances and other voluntary contributions from charitable organizations. As a result, he has spent a great deal of his time working with children – a cause he has always felt is vitally important. While Valmon found his volunteer experiences to be rewarding in many ways, he realized the abiding need that many children have for inspiring and successful role models.
Energized by this concept, Valmon enthusiastically presented his idea to several fellow Olympic athletes and the Avenue Program began to take shape. He also enlisted the help of his friend, and physician, Dr. Robert Johnson, Director of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine at New Jersey Medical School. Today, the Avenue Program is comprised of over 20 accomplished volunteers from culturally and professionally diverse backgrounds. The program offers the unique ability to provide role models ranging from world-class athletes to medical doctors to leaders in business and industry. What all these people have in common is that they have met challenges and have been able to overcome them. Now they want to help young people to do the same.
Our partnership with individual contributors, corporations and non-profit organizations enables us to continue our work. The Avenue Program reaches out to young people in various communities either by organizing events of our own, or partnering with schools and other not-for-profit programs. With every event the goal is to provide a safe and fun sports activity as a vehicle for imparting some words of wisdom that our volunteer role models have learned along their journey. We also aim to give every child a memento of the event to remind them of what they learned.
Our Olympic athletes are the embodiment of the assets needed to succeed in life: discipline, hard work, goal setting, purposefulness, and many others. As athletes they also testify to the importance of good nutrition, exercise, and keeping their bodies free from drugs and alcohol. But knowing that not every child wants to be, or will be, an Olympic athlete, we feel it is equally important to show case role models who have succeeded in other areas of life. Our main goal is to offer exposure to the in world of opportunities that are available, and some of the core values that it takes to master them. As our motto says, the Avenue Program helps kids get "on the road to the future."