Centene Teams Up with Pro Football Hall of Fame for Largest Ever 'Strong Youth Strong Communities' Summit

Transforming Communities, Health & Wellness


children seated in auditorium listen to presenter

Hosting more than 1,300 local youth over a weekend of events, the Strong Youth Strong Communities (SYSC) Summit inspired, empowered, and engaged people of all ages across the St. Louis community. On Sept. 13 and 14, Centene and its Missouri health plan, Home State Health, partnered with the Pro Football Hall of Fame to host the 28th SYSC Summit, the largest SYSC Summit to date.

SYSC is a nationwide initiative investing in today's youth to positively impact current and future communities. The events bring together a diverse group of partners to address the academic and social challenges confronting middle and high school students, including bullying, drug abuse, suicide, teen pregnancy and gun violence. This partnership further enhances Centene's commitment to empowering youth and creating stronger, healthier communities.

The video below highlights some of the moments from the summit where local students discussed challenges in their communities and opportunities to make a difference.


The St. Louis event kicked off with Pro Football Hall of Fame athletes Darrell Green and Aeneas Williams, as well as NFL legend Isaac Bruce, providing firsthand accounts of overcoming struggles by making safe and smart choices when confronted with difficult decisions. A record number of convening partners also worked tirelessly to ensure the summit was successful. More than two dozen organizations, including the Jennings School District, Normandy Schools Collaborative, St. Louis Public Schools, St. Louis County Police Department, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis worked to engage and empower the local students.

Aeneas Williams and Darrell Green interact with students on stage

Pictured above, Pro Football Hall of Fame athletes Aeneas Williams and Darrell Green interact on stage with some of the 1,300 St. Louis students who participated in the Strong Youth Strong Communities Summit.

Following the conversations with local youth at the summit, a stakeholders breakfast was held at the Centene Ferguson Service Center where Superbowl-winning coach Tony Dungy spoke on the importance of encouragement and determination. Decision makers from the multiple community organizations and businesses, along with elected officials, also shared observations from the Summit and strategies for making long-term change. 

Centene Chairman, President and CEO, Michael Neidorff expressed his gratitude to those taking the steps to help communities and their youth flourish on the path forward.

"We are here today, because I want youth to understand that they can succeed. What you achieve is up to you. You have to set the bar, set the standards on which you operate. Do not let others define you," said Mr. Neidorff. "Many of our Hall of Famers had to overcome almost insurmountable obstacles to achieve their dreams. Their lesson is that it can be done, but it can be done more easily when we have help."

Mr. Neidorff said the key to reducing violence in our communities is developing neighborhoods that have hopeful, well-educated, and engaged citizens who want to thrive and grow. He also expressed his admiration for those who lead by example and the positive impact they make on those they influence.

"One of the most remarkable things I heard many of you say when speaking about your success, even though some of you are famous, is that you don't measure your success by what you achieved on the field. You measure your success by what you have accomplished as fathers, husbands, sons, brothers, and members of your communities," said Mr. Neidorff.

The two-day event wrapped up with a Community & Family Day at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater St. Louis where kids and local families had access to free vision and dental screenings, mentoring programs, and workshops.

police officer engages with youth

Pictured above, a St. Louis County police officer engages with St. Louis youth during the SYSC Community & Family Day. 

police officers participate in team games

Pictured above, St. Louis City police officers join local youth in physical activity during the SYSC Community & Family Day.