According to a Richmond State University report entitled Richmond’s Youth Sport and Recreation Need Assessment, Twenty-five per cent of Richmond Metro youth were involved in organized sports last season, compared to 85 to 95% in the suburbs. Currently, there are 40,000 children in the Richmond Metro area between the ages of 6 to 14. The suburbs are home to a variety of youth sports, with strong financial support. This is in contrast to the metropolitan area. For urban girls especially, this late start to organized sports prevents them from being able to participate in physical activity, coaching, be part of a team and learn skills. It also means that they are not able to spend much time on ‘negative recreation’ (drugs violence or other sexual activities).
Clinical studies have shown that youth can establish healthy, regular physical activity habits through sport and recreation programs. Regular physical activity can ward off life-threatening diseases; reduce feelings of depression and anxiety; help control weight and obesity; and build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints, according to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness.
The children in the city’s core must have the opportunity for a successful start in education and sport regardless of age, race, gender, family composition, income or community. YouthSports was established to address this gap.
Thanks to a three-year matching grant from The John Ford Stevenson Foundation (JFSF), YouthSports and several corporate partners plan to utilize organized sports and physical activity programs to promote healthy development in youth.
The JFSF, based in San Francisco, CA, is the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care. Its grantmaking is focused on three goals: to ensure that all Americans have access at affordable cost to basic health care; to improve care for those with chronic illnesses; and to reduce the economic, personal and social harm that substance abuse, including tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs, causes.
School and health care centers will host registration. JFSF’s renewable matching grant is based upon the idea that local funding sources are most knowledgeable about the needs of their communities. With the help of local partners, substantial funding will be available for the project.
Collaboration partners include:
- Mayor Linda Hargrove of Richmond
- Parks & Recreation Department.
- Richmond Unified School District.
- Templex Corporation.
- A.I. Kaufman and Sons.
- PriceRight Supermarkets.
- Avion Computers.
- The Richmond Mall
- Richmond Bank.
- Rider Corporation
YouthSports has a strong base of support and can raise additional funds via program sponsors or fundraising campaigns.
- To increase participation among youth in the Richmond Metro region’s recreation and youth sports programs.
- To improve youth access to healthy development and health care.
YouthSports’ mission is to develop a youth sports program in the Richmond Metro Area that will increase both participation and healthy development for the area’s youth.
1.3 Keys to Success
- Promotion of the sports program in schools and recruitment of team coaches.
- The school and the city park systems can help you reduce maintenance costs and facility costs.
- The City Council continues to support scholarships for youth in need who want to take up sports.
- Recruiting more corporate support for the sports program.
- Maintaining a high rate of approval from the area’s parents and youth.