Our Twofold Mission..

To eliminate the critical interscholastic athletic and activity gap created when at-risk/special education students are removed from their regular school programs.

To provide alternative school educators a powerful set of tools to build hope and change lives.

Our Mission. Our Offerings. Our Purpose.

Each year, CAAEL offers

for 5,000
from 30
Illinois Counties

How We Help

CAAEL Programs

CAAEL has proven effective across geographic and demographic boundaries. There are over 1000 CAAEL events and tournaments EACH year including bowling, chess, art, flag football, volleyball, soccer, softball, basketball, badminton, spelling bees, academic bowls, outdoor adventure skills, high ropes courses and zip lines. Through CAAEL’s core values and motivating programs, it has helped thousands of at-risk kids develop self-discipline, learn to respect others, work as a team, and take pride in themselves and their school communities. Because of all that is taught and learned as part of CAAEL participation, alternative schools have long recognized the value of allocating a portion of their daily schedule for CAAEL activities.  As one Comcast SportsNet reporter recognized, “CAAEL is a different kind of classroom.”

CAAEL is Cost-Effective

Because it is based on partnerships rather than direct student intervention, CAAEL is extremely cost-effective. The programs are delivered through each partner schools’ instructional staff, utilizing their own physical resources and transportation systems.  By incorporating the programs into already existing services through specialized training and support, CAAEL impacts the education of thousands of youth annually at minimal per student cost.

Note- CAAEL eliminates unnecessary duplication of efforts and services. By customizing the leagues and events for this specific population and managing the network of schools, each partner’s limited resources remain available to address the myriad of other challenges inherent in educating these youth.

CAAEL is Comprehensive

CAAEL is NOT an afterschool program. CAAEL programs are integrated directly into each partner school’s own curriculum and incentive system to become an essential component of the daily procedures and operations. It’s games and events are integrated directly into each school’s daily schedule where students need to meet attendance, academic, and behavioral eligibility criteria in order to participate in the highly desirable events and competitions that are integrated into the school day. Kids are extremely motivated to stay on target all week so that they can remain eligible to leave school and participate in the weekly CAAEL events during SCHOOL HOURS.


Sportsmanship is Key

With every event’s emphasis on positive leadership and SPORTSMANSHIP rather than winning, CAAEL students build character and learn necessary social skills.  Throughout the school day and at CAAEL events, students learn how to interact positively with peers, show respect for authority figures, work as a team, demonstrate compassion and tolerance, win and lose gracefully, make thoughtful decisions and accept both the positive and negative consequences of their decisions.


CAAEL engages alienated youth and helps reintegrate them back into the mainstream.   It is a powerful motivator and offers hope of a brighter future for our most vulnerable youth.

CAAEL has a longstanding history and many students who have come through the CAAEL program have graduated and come back to teach and coach in CAAEL. Here are just a few...

Delfino Diaz

Aspira Antonio Pantoja High School

Jabari Harris

Joseph Academy Melrose Park

Troy Thompson

SEAL Lombard

Marty Knuth

Maryville Jen School

Christian Gripper

SEAL Romeoville/Woodstock

Jim LoGiurato

Joseph Academy Administrator

Cornelius Dixon

Joseph Academy Des Plaines

Sherman Austin

CAAEL Supporter

Jesus Garcia

Joseph Academy Des Plaines

Mike Battista

Cove School

Dr. Thomas Gattuso

Sullivan House Principal/Coach

Claude Holmes

Aspira Antonia Pantoja High School

Dan Gentry

The Academy at Forest View

Rick Shudine

The Academy at Forest View

Anne Craig

Maryville Jen School Principal

Michael Schack

Joseph Academy Executive Director

"In our opinion, CAAEL has given many troubled youth at Joseph Academy a genuine and meaningful chance to enjoy the world of sports. This experience has been for many of these lost kids, the greatest thrill that athletics can offer to youth and given them memories that will be long lasting."

-Michael Schack, Executive Director at Joseph Academy