Our mission is to improve the lives of at-risk youth through sports in schools.
Sports in Schools is not really about sports. It is about sports as a bridge to a better life for Washington State youth. Our goal is to ensure that students impacted by financial hardship and life trauma have the chance to participate in after-school activities that will keep them healthy, active and engaged in school.
As Washington School Districts have cut athletic budgets drastically, many schools have shut down sports programs. In schools where teams are available, kids are charged “Pay to Play” fees of $50 to $250. This raises financial barriers for those who are most in need. Without healthy experiences outside the classroom, these youth are at risk of obesity, depression, substance abuse, crime or gang activities, truancy, and dropping out of school.
We help school districts, schools, athletic directors and coaches to keep sports programs running. We also remove financial barriers for individual students. Along with getting exercise and developing physical skills, these kids learn the values of good sportsmanship and teamwork. They have an opportunity to form healthy relationships with adults. They are held accountable and given direct incentives to attend school and keep up their grades.
Statistically, students who participate in sports have a higher rate of graduation from high school. Being on a school team gives them a sense of purpose and belonging.
The sports field is a great leveler.
Many of the youth in our programs cope with poverty and have experienced serious life trauma. Some are in foster care, some are homeless. Some are immigrants who faced undue hardships in their early years and now cope with the immense challenges of assimilating into a new culture with a new language. By providing these students with a safe and supportive after-school activity, we can help them heal emotionally and build happier lives.
In communities impacted by poverty, children often come from dysfunctional homes affected by alcohol and drug abuse, domestic violence, and incarceration or death of loved ones. Often they are stressed, socially isolated and distrusting of adults. Encouragement from a good coach and the experience of bonding with teammates can make an immense difference in these kids’ lives. Often they become inspired to do well in school and begin to plan for a healthy, happy future.
For immigrant students facing social challenges, the sports field may be the place where they feel most at home. There is no language barrier in a game of sports. Here they bond with teammates and form connections to their schools. Here they boost their sense of self-worth through the challenges and fun of athletic experiences.
Where do we focus our support?
Our funds go to support any of the 14 WIAA sanctioned sports.
We support poverty-impacted middle schools, high schools and school districts in Washington State, and any low-income, disadvantaged youth in any school who can’t afford to pay school athletic fees.
League Parity – the athletic programs in low-income communities are typically not as competitive as the programs in higher-income and private schools. We work to increase the competitiveness of athletic programs not being supported by school budgets, booster clubs, endowments and private supporters.
We focus our funding on activities, but when needed we purchase equipment.
We provide opportunities not typically funded by school budgets. These include sending teams to summer camps, summer leagues and holiday tournaments, special events, and All Star Games.
We support clinics and trainings for athletic directors and coaches. We work to improve the quality of administration and coaching, with a strong emphasis on fostering positive attitudes.
Health, Education and Social Issues Addressed by Sports in Schools
- Childhood Obesity and Diabetes
- Truancy and Discipline rates
- Alcohol and Substance Abuse
- Social Isolation and Bullying
- Youth Violence/Gang Activity
SIS program goals
- Positive Coaching and Sportsmanship
- Leadership Development, Self Esteem
- Gender Parity in Athletics
- High School Graduation
- Education beyond High School
- Contributing members of society