GOALS mission is to help improve the lives of underserved children through after-school athletics, academics, community service, mentoring, and job training. The purpose of GOALS is to enhance the self-esteem of 6 to19-year-olds through team concepts and other constructive values at a young age by offering after-school alternatives to anti-social behavior.
In 1993, The Walt Disney Company, led by then CEO Michael Eisner, released a movie called “The Mighty Ducks”.The unexpected popularity of this film, which starred Emilio Estevez, prompted Eisner to seek the development of a National Hockey League Team – The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. A year later, Eisner encouraged his corporate leaders to create a state of the art community ice center in Anaheim, and to also help establish a not for profit program so that underserved youth could participate in community hockey and other developmental programs. “Disney GOALS” was born!
Dave Wilk, who had founded the pioneering Ice Hockey In Harlem program, was recruited to lead the formation and growth of the not for profit community initiative. Strong early support from the Walt Disney Company, Disneyland and the then named Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, propelled the start up endeavor to a vibrant operating entity practically overnight. The original mission and philosophy of the GOALS initiative was and is to create team oriented, free, long term social development opportunities for low income youth in areas of high need. Following the eventual sale of the Ducks franchise and the divestiture of other sports interests, Disney and Disney GOALS mutually agreed to “re-brand” the program as just GOALS – Growth opportunities through Athletics, Learning & Service, so as to underscore the independence of the program and to also reflect the expanded breadth and depth of the program’s development since the mid ’90’s.
Today GOALS has incorporated a host of team athletics including soccer, lacrosse, team handball, basketball, roller hockey, and tennis while still maintaining the historic core of daily ice hockey clinics, games and tournaments. GOALS remains a completely free program that has expanded to four cities (Anaheim, Placentia, Fullerton and Huntington Beach), with many educational enrichment programs and award winning community service programs such as the heralded GOALS Cadets “Summer of Service”. GOALS has developed many collaborations most prominently with the City of Anaheim through the development of many free, youth oriented facilities in central Anaheim.