Former St. Joe’s Hawk impacts students, athletes throughout Delaware Valley

Earlier this year Chalkbeat reported staggering facts and figures impacting youth under 18.

According to the Philadelphia Police Department, there were 145 homicides by April, up 6% from the same time last year,

Teenagers and children make up a growing number of gun violence victims and perpetrators, a problem the City of Philadelphia and school officials have been struggling to address.

Erick Woods, through his small business Raise Your Bar, believes he has a formula that can reduce the acts of violence and aide officials in addressing the public health crisis.

“The Raise Your Bar presentation touches on topics critical to the development of middle school students’ success as they move through their high school years and beyond,” said Kelly Ciminera, Principal of Saints Colman-John Neumann School.

“Mr. Woods’ charismatic personality immediately connected him to the students, they were engaged from start to finish,” Ciminera shared after a recent presentation by Erick Woods, Founder of the professional services company, Raise Your Bar.

“I know that our students walked away with lessons and skills that will stay with them far beyond today,” said Ciminera.

Erick Woods recently presented Raise Your Bar at the GESU School in Philadelphia. Submitted photo.

The St. Louis native, now a resident of a Philadelphia suburb, is truly living a purposeful life. A former member of St. Joseph’s University’s Men’s Basketball Team, Woods currently serves as Director of Student-Athlete Development in the athletics department of his alma mater.

Honored as a “Real Champion” on Your Radio Doctor, a talk show hosted by Dr. Marianne T. Richie in Philadelphia, Woods’ career includes serving as a K-12 administrator, basketball trainer and coach, and acting as St. Joseph’s Preparatory School’s Associate Campus Minister for Ignatian Service.

Woods recently concluded a season of hosting Raise Your Bar…NOW!! on Beasley Media Group’s WWDB-AM Talk 860 radio. A motivational and encouragement platform designed to give student-athletes and athletic leaders tools they need to pursue greatness, Woods is “looking for a new platform for season two,

“I hope to bring Raise Your Bar…NOW!! to a new platform,” said Woods, who is targeting platforms including Philadelphia-based WURD Radio and Barstools Sports.

“I am hopeful that one of these platforms will see the value in the programming and help me highlight student-athletes and athletic leaders.”

Armed with a bachelors of marketing undergraduate degree and a masters of education leadership and administration graduate degree from the Philadelphia based institution, Woods has drawn on his higher education and scholastic experiences to present Raise Your Bar to schools, colleges and universities throughout the Delaware Valley.

“His passion for leadership and relationship building provided an insightful message that could be applied to all students. He shared meaningful, relatable stories that challenged our students to analyze their own personal journeys within athletics and personal growth. We received very positive feedback from our students,” said Dennis Stanton, Souderton Area High School’s Athletic Director.

Speaking before 200 student-athletes at Souderton last month, “Erick’s positive energy and enthusiasm immediately captivated our students,” said Stanton.

“His message to student-athletes is powerful,” declared Ciminera.

Erick Woods addressing student-athletes and parents at the First Annual Memorial Ny’ques “The Beast” Basketball Tournament, held at Chester Boys and Girls Club. Submitted photo.

Woods’ “charismatic” personality and delivery resonates with a wide range of audiences.

Addressing academic success, leadership, skill development, strength and conditioning, and character development during Raise Your Bar assemblies and presentations, Woods is a “major advocate of equipping every student he encounters with the necessary tools and resources for their academic and personal growth and development.”

“I believe one way of being a catalyst for change is by engaging students through civil service projects. It is a way for me to show individuals and organizations that I am an effective servant leader and communicator that takes pride in impacting as many of our youth as possible, every chance I get,” said Woods.

Raise Your Bar features a five-faceted enrichment program, alongside a bouquet of educational and training services, that addresses the changing environments, needs, and skills of students, especially student-athletes.

Designed to guide and encourage students to achieve their goals, Raise Your Bar aims to set students on the path to fulfilling their academic, athletic, and personal potential.

Erick Woods addresses Bensalem High School students in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Submitted photo.

“We were lucky enough to have Mr. Woods speak to our middle school students,” said Meghan “Mrs. B” Baskerville, a Technology Teacher at Saints Colman-John Neumann School.

“From the moment Mr. Woods walked into the room, the students were quiet and attentive. Throughout his presentation, students were engaged, answered questions, and learned a lot about how to be successful students-athletes,” said Baskerville.

“I have the heart, the bandwidth, and the passion to positively impact a significant segment of our society, our youth. They’re the future,” said Woods, who also serves as an affiliate of a Pennsylvania-based tech startup company, LifeBrand.

“We are poised to conduct Raise Your Bar workshops and summits, in addition to basketball training sessions, to address violence prevent, social media literacy, and personal performance development,” said Woods.

Erick Woods hosted LifeBrand executives during a recent training session with St. Joseph’s University student-athletes. Submitted photo.

This fall, Jeff Brown’s Wakefern Food Corporation, ShopRite’s parent company, will support a series of Raise Your Bar engagements targeting student-athletes attending schools near ShopRite locations throughout the city.

“The message is needed most in Philadelphia,” said Woods, a husband and father of three.

“In every part of the city, in as many schools, recreation centers, and after school programs as possible.”

“I’m excited to partner with ShopRite to help reverse the violent trend seeming to plague our city and our youth. We only need one chance to get in front of students and I can assure you we will have students excited to raise their bar,” said Woods.

“Athletes in our community have an amazing platform on which to influence their peers and those who look up to them, and I truly feel if I can get student-athletes in Philadelphia schools to be examples of academic success, inclusive leadership, and great character, we can begin to see change in our city.”

To impact your student-athletes with the Raise Your Bar message, contact Erick Woods at

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