Free Access to After School Sports

Did you know that almost half of all student athletes in the U.S. are required to pay-to-play? In West Michigan alone, it is estimated that 68% of school districts use the pay to play model for athletics.

A disturbing result – athletes who are part of pay to play school districts, are four times more likely to quit sports due to cost. This is a national issue as much as it is a local one. According to NBC News, participation in team sports fell from 54% to 50% between 2011 and 2012 for kids ages 6 to 17 (2014). As schools start implementing pay to play initiatives, student athletes respond by quitting. This poses detrimental risks to student’s health, grades and overall well-being.

However, GR8 Sports, Great Kids – a Grand Rapids Student Advancement Foundation program – works with the community to eliminate financial concerns associated with sports by offering K-8 athletics at no cost to the student or their family.  We can’t do this alone! Organizations and individuals have rallied beside us to provide elementary and middle school students with free access to after school sports!

Last week, EHTC hosted their 30th Annual Chipping for Charity golf outing. Golfers, putters and chippers converged on the greens to show off their skills to benefit GR8 Sports, Great Kids! Together, funds were raised, friendships were made all in an effort to enhance K-8 GRPS athletics.

On October 7, Logan’s Alley (916 Michigan St NE) will be celebrating their 2nd Annual Harvest Festival. From 11AM-9PM, taps will be opened for guests to be introduced to Founders newest beer! Adding to the fun will be the Michigan vs Michigan State football game that is sure to bring out deep rooted rivalry.  All are welcome, this is a family-friendly event with 15% of the day’s sales benefiting GR8 Sports, Great Kids!

You can help too! Consider bringing your family, friends and coworkers together in a fun way to help raise money for the students of GRPS. An easy way to do this is to host or sponsor an event and consider GR8 Sports, Great Kids as the beneficiary! Your support goes a long way. When we raise funds and connect resources together, we contribute to overall success of GRPS students.

For more information on how you can make a difference for student athletes, please write to [email protected] or call 616.988.5430.


CNBC.COM. (2014, July 27). Lower-Income Students Getting Shut Out of Sports. In NBC News. Retrieved from https://www.nbcnews.com/business/consumer/lower-income-students-getting-shut-out-sports-n164941

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