Kids on Track
SAF’s latest endeavor, supporting Elementary Afterschool Sports throughout Grand Rapids Public Schools, brought us to Houseman Field for a track meet last Thursday. Students from Aberdeen, North Park, Palmer, Congress, Harrison Park, Kent Hills and Mulick Park all gathered around the field in their brightly colored track t-shirts as they waited for a turn at shot put or stood at the sidelines cheering on teammates.
We met enthusiastic coaches, including current district p.e. staff, a Creston student volunteer and volunteers from both GVSU and Aquinas—all of them busy encouraging the athletes, helping them focus and prepare for the next event. Several students from Aberdeen excitedly described for us the events they’d completed and those still in store. Again and again, we heard students say their very favorite part of track is simply getting outside with their friends to root for their fellow athletes. That kind of team spirit was in abundance at Houseman Field last week.
Want to know what educators say about the EAS program? Here’s a glimpse at some of the comments we’ve received:
“Thank you for paying for our students to be able to be involved in basketball and track & field. You have made a big difference in many children’s lives. Many times sports are what keep children motivated to continue with their schooling.”
“I was the principal who thanked you yesterday! I asked if you were the ‘secret weapon’ that funded the elementary school basketball program at the 11th hour! Thank you so much for that donation. That financial opportunity opened doors for many of our students here.”
The SAF provides funding for the district-wide Elementary Afterschool Sports (EAS) program, which includes basketball, track, cross country and soccer (coming fall 2012) and is available to all GRPS elementary schools. Support for this program is due to the overwhelming generosity of the Grand Rapids community at our spring fundraising gala, MindShare.