It's one of those things that is so often either overlooked or taken advantage of by those that have far easier access to its offerings, but sports in public schools is dwindling fast due to constant budget cuts, and this is an injustice we should all be attune to.
For Harlem students attending public schools from 6th - 12th grades, this gross extinction in process is far too real for them and their families today. This isn't the gentrified Harlem currently being discussed in chic magazines and real estate listings, this is old Harlem, bordering South Bronx, where little has changed in the last decade. For some of us, Physical Education classes were a nightmare and period of our high school days we wanted little part of so instead we turned to Art, Creative Writing or sought comfort in the Chemistry lab. Avoiding PE at all costs then makes it hard to fathom now, how it would be if we never even had the option to choose. Time and time again it is proven that the availability of sports to a child is of dire importance to his or her development. Taking an active part in athletics has a positive impact on a child's life when aiding in self confidence, physical strength, teamwork, strategizing, memory retention, moral support, positive feedback, personal goals, physical health and so much more. For these Harlem high school kids, those attending Frederick Douglas Academy at 148th street had no where to go but the streets or home alone after school lets out, prompting bad behavior due to boredom, a lack of self worth or both. Frederick Douglas was just one of many public schools that couldn't afford the equipment and additional instructors needed to teach athletics to kids on a regular basis. Thankfully, the right people took notice of this dire situation and decided to do something amazing for these often overlooked kids.
Massive athletic and outdoor-goods retailer DICK'S Sporting Goods created a Foundation to specifically partner with DonorsChoose.org to instill Sports Matter. DonorsChoose.org provides a crowdfunding platform for public and public charter school teachers to connect with a donor community that believes every child should have the tools and experiences needed for an excellent education. The mission of Sports Matter through DICK'S Sporting Goods is to make a lasting impact in our community by supporting programs that inspire and enable sports participation. Athletic programs and sports teams should be available to every single child that exists today and for lifetimes to come. This topic should never be up for debate again. Countless kids would much rather be part of a sports team than part of a gang or simply alone with nowhere safe to turn. We applaud DICK'S, DonorsChoose.org and Sports Matter for making a difference in the lives of our youth and society as a whole.
Harlem Lacrosse & Leadership. Sponsored by DICK'S Sporting Goods Foundation.