Think Together was awarded $172,000 from the LA84 Foundation, a legacy of the 1984 Olympic Games, to support competitive sports programs in 48 middle school programs in Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. This includes a $30,000 increase from the prior year to launch programs at five schools, supporting over 500 students, in Rialto Unified School District. The programs will now serve over 5,500 middle school students.
Think Together serves cities with some of the highest rates of youth obesity in the state. According to “Food Security and Obesity in San Bernardino County 2017” by San Bernardino County’s Public Health Nutrition Program, 52% of Rialto USD students are obese. Think Together will be introducing competitive sports programs at Frisbie Middle School, Jehue (William G.) Middle School, Kolb Middle School, Kucera (Ethel) Middle School
and Rialto Middle School to improve Rialto USD’s obesity percentages.
Think Together will provide a basketball program for boys and girls in the winter, and a boys and girls soccer program in the spring. In the fall, it will hold boys flag football and girls volleyball programs. The sports consist of intramural programs where students compete at the school sites during afterschool hours, culminating with a series of regional tournaments.
In addition to competitive sports programs, students participate in daily homework help, academic enrichment in English and Language Arts, Math and STEM, and nutrition education. For many of the students, the sports programs serve as motivation to join the afterschool program and receive these extra supports.
“Think Together gives kids a place to go and great people to talk to when they have problems,” said Karen Kendrick, a guardian of a student involved in the sports program. “The teams have given my niece a purpose. She has more confidence in herself and feels smart and more capable.”
The LA84 Foundation is a nationally recognized leader supporting youth sport programs and public education. The foundation advocates for the important role sports participation plays in positive youth development, and supports hundreds of non-profit youth sports organizations throughout Southern California annually.
State budget cuts have caused many school districts throughout California to remove sports programs after school. With only a few cities offering sports programs in the area, their significant fees often make participation in the programs a challenge for students due to cost.
“Playing sports is very beneficial to me because it helps improve my skills and stay aware of my abilities,” said Alexis Garcia, student and volleyball player. “It also helps me stay on top of my grades so that I can be eligible to play.”