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Physical Wellness

SAF Impact Areas

Providing opportunities to get children active and keep them healthy.

Meijer Gardens2

We all want to ensure that GRPS students have the tools they need to learn, but how does a sports program fit in? The Student Advancement Foundation sees sports as another critical tool to help kids become stronger, smarter, and self-assured.

GR8 Sports; Great Kids

Obesity is a rampant crisis in our nation today.  In Michigan, 30.6% of youth ages 10-17 are overweight. (Trust for American’s Health).  The consequences of obesity and excess weight include higher risk for hypertension, type 2 Diabetes and a host of other chronic diseases and are now increasingly being reported in children.

Further complicating this issue, GRPS elementary students have approximately 30 minutes of recess per day and 48 minutes each week of formal physical education classes.  Middle school students have even less regular exposure to physical activity during the traditional school day. These children fall far short of the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation that children get at least one hour per day of physical activity.  In order to improve the health and wellness of our students, it is critical that they have opportunities to help them be active.  Further educators and health professional alike recognize that a child’s health impacts his or her ability to go to school, to focus, to study and, ultimately, to learn.

The community is coming together to answer the need for opportunities for all kids to be active and healthy.  The GR8 Sports; Great Kids initiative and Advisory Council works to provide the financial resources to ensure a broad range of after-school athletics opportunities for elementary and middle school students in the district.

$450,000 to Grand Rapids Public Schools for the 2014-2015 school year for a free after-school sports program for elementary and middle school students.   Sports offered will include:  track, basketball, volleyball, competitive cheer, soccer, football, swimming and others.


Meet Sue: A Parent Who is Part of the Impact

Sue Garza is a parent whose son played basketball in the afterschool sports program last year. Her husband, Tony, coached the team. Sue shared these observations: “What is special about this program is that it’s free! Many families are struggling and paying for sports is out of the realm of possibility. I know a father of five who constantly asks me when the sports teams are starting up because he’s so anxious to have his children participate. It really builds up families and communities, starting sports at a young age. The need for physical movement is essential and so is the need to feel part of a team. My son enjoyed sports and the atmosphere of trying your best and learning sportsmanship.”

We’re grateful to parents like Sue, who recognize the importance of opportunities like these that nurture self-assured kids who are well-prepared to learn, grow and succeed!

“It’s really fun to be here and it’s important to exercise…and you can always do it in a fun way.”


– Anna, Shawmut Hills