Encouraging Youth Sports and Their Benefits

(Family Features) Sports help shape kids’ lives, but due to funding shortages, some school sports programs are at risk.

Most experts agree physical activity is an essential aspect of youth development that teaches teamwork, builds confidence and fuels academic potential. However, according to a survey of middle school educators engaged with DonorsChoose.org, 6 in 10 feel their middle school athletic programs are barely funded or underfunded. In fact, a lack of funding accounts for 47% of cuts to middle school sports programs, the survey revealed.

A multiyear program known as “Mission Tiger,” launched by Kellogg, is committed to helping save middle school sports. The initiative started with a $1 million commitment to DonorsChoose.org to fund projects big and small at schools in need. Professional athletes passionate about youth sports, including Olympian Julie Ertz, are teaming up with the program to help underfunded programs. The pro-soccer midfielder teamed up with Mission Tiger to help a school inspire its students’ dreams both on and off the field by donating new equipment, including soccer balls, cleats, shin guards and more.

“Growing up, I learned numerous skills from sports, skills that applied not only to athletics but to my everyday life,” Ertz said. “This is one of the many reasons why I joined the Mission Tiger team – we’re not just giving kids the opportunity to play sports, we’re giving kids the opportunity to develop beneficial skills that can positively impact the future of today’s youth.”

Consider these benefits of youth sports:

  • Teamwork: Sports teach kids the advantages of working together toward a common goal. The ability to collaborate with peers, including those outside a child’s immediate circle of friends, is a skill that provides benefits through adulthood.  
  • Character: Learning how to accept wins and losses gracefully isn’t just good sportsmanship, it’s a life lesson. A playing field puts these lessons to use so kids can practice empathy and other social interactions in a comfortable setting.
  • Fitness: Sports are a fun way to get kids moving, and this increased physical activity helps build healthy bodies and reduces the risk of diseases. From cultivating a healthy heart and lungs to helping prevent high blood pressure and, ultimately, heart disease, regular physical activity provides numerous health benefits.
  • Discipline: While free play has its place, kids also need structure and boundaries. Sports come with rules, and kids naturally learn through positive reinforcement (scoring points or winning a game) and consequences (getting a penalty or losing).
  • Academics: Studies reveal that physically active children score higher on tests and are more likely to go to college, according to research published by The Aspen Institute. Sports help reinforce learning concepts and habits like repetition and problem-solving. Those skills, along with the sense of accomplishment that comes with learning, are transferrable to the classroom setting.

Visit MissionTiger.com for more details about how you can help give kids a chance to play. For every box of Frosted Flakes you purchase, you can spark a $1 donation to DonorsChoose.org by uploading your receipt to Kellogg’s Family Rewards within 30 days of purchase.

 

Kellogg is donating $1 per purchase to DonorsChoose.org with Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes receipt upload. Min. donation $500,000 – Max. $1,000,000. Go to missiontiger.com for instructions. Applies to purchases between 8/5/19 and 8/5/20; must upload within 30 days of purchase.

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