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 challenges have the chance to participate in after-school activities that will keep them healthy, active and engaged in school.
The need is great. 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.
Communities and individuals with the most need have been hit the hardest. Without healthy experiences outside the classroom, many young people are at risk of obesity, depression, substance abuse, crime or gang activities, truancy, and dropping out of school. In Washington State, about a fourth of our students drop out of high school.
The power of sports
Athletic programs offer a simple and powerful solution. Kids need physical exercise. Kids like to play games. They want the kind of social interaction and adult mentoring that comes from being part of a team. Athletic programs give students a direct incentive to attend school, keep up their grades, and graduate with their classmates.
We are inspired by the resilience and determination we see among our student athletes, and by some great athletic directors and coaches who make a difference in these kids’ lives. One soccer team we fund has 16 players who speak 12 different languages. For them, the soccer field may be the place they feel most at home.
A school team can act as a family, a club, a community. Being on a school team gives students a healthier lifestyle, a sense of belonging, a drive to succeed academically, and the opportunity to live a more fulfilled life. At Sports in Schools, we believe all young people should have these opportunities.
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
Sports in Schools program goals
- Positive Coaching and Sportsmanship
- Leadership Development, Self Esteem
- League and Gender Parity in Athletics
- High School Graduation
- Education beyond High School
- Positive, contributing members of society