What is Handshake America?

Kids can learn many life lessons from their athletic experiences - including the value of having a good coach.  With that premise, Handshake America identifies coachable student-athletes with grit and connects them with successful people that help translate lessons from the field to success in life.  We coach - not "mentor" - the students to learn the true meaning of success and how they will achieve it with Perseverance, Passion, Positivity, People and Presence - which includes giving a good handshake!

What's in it for the students?  Those selected get to take part in a one-year Program with students from other area high schools to see many examples of what 'very good' looks like while learning from their individual Coach and team sessions.  They also receive a significant college scholarship.

What's in it for the Handshake Coaches?  Without requiring a lot of time, they get to meaningfully and directly 'give back' to a student who wants to be coached.  They also build valuable relationships with other like-minded Handshake Coaches.  

What's in it for the community?  First, we are developing tomorrow's leaders.  Secondly, because each school is limited to just one male and one female student, the Program spans across schools from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds.

Our Purpose and Vision

A national community of 5P Leaders* influencing a culture and uniting the people around them.

*5P Leaders are those who regularly practice and represent the values of Perseverance, Passion, Positivity, People, and Presence

Our Mission

Create life-coaching relationships with gritty student-athletes to help them realize their potential for success and inspire them to influence others.

Our Five Practices of Success (The 5Ps)

Handshake America recognizes the importance of a proper handshake and what it may reveal about a person's character. Inspired by John Wooden's Pyramid of Success, the Handshake Program utilizes its 5Ps (Perseverance, Passion, Positivity, People, and Presence) to help students learn the elements and definition of "success" while leveraging the experiences they have gained through athletics. The Program consists of a college scholarship, the assignment of a Handshake Coach, and eight meetings throughout the calendar year to help prepare the students for their future.