GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids Public Schools is launching a fundraising campaign to continue offering sports to students at no cost.
The majority of kids that attend GRPS live in homes where the income is below the poverty line, making it nearly impossible to pay for sports.
While funding from GRPS and the Grand Rapids Student Advancement Foundation already helps pay for sports for students in kindergarten through 8th grade, they need help from the community to continue the program.
“Ultimately what’s unique about this is I think most school districts the kids and the parents need to fund some of the cost to participate. What’s great about this is there is no cost for kids that play on these sports teams within that age group,” said Art Gray, the chairman of Great Sports Great Kids.
“We’re seeing it already, we have the best athletic program that we’ve had for years and it’s because of the generous donations of members of this community,” said GRPS Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal.
GRPS expects to engage more than 5,000 students in 14 different sports programs alone.
School officials say sport participation also helps kids in the classroom.
“The research is real clear, students that participate in sports they score higher on the assessments, they come to school more often, they have less behavioral issues. So it’s really important not just for the physical impact but the whole child,” said Weatherall Neal.
For more information or to make a donation, click here. The district said it is also looking for volunteer coaches for their elementary program.