There's a need
Only 66% of students in Philadelphia graduated from high school within 4 years, according to the 2017 Pew State of the City report. Meanwhile, A Project U-Turn study in 2014 found that only 38% of all Philadelphia students enroll in a two or four year college after high school. Finally, only 27.4% of Philadelphia residents are college graduates, lower than the national average and significantly lower than many comparable cities. All of this points to a need to engage Philadelphia students early; to help them design pathways to college and beyond; and to provide them with the support and structure necessary to fulfill their academic and other potential.
Sports Are a Solution:
The Aspen Institute’s 2016 “State of Play” report contained the following findings:
- Organized sports activity helps children develop and improve cognitive skills.
- Physical activity is associated with improved grades and standardized test scores.
- High school athletes are more likely than non-athletes to attend college and graduate.
- Sports can positively affect self-esteem, goal settings and leadership.
The Coaches Matter:
According to the same Aspen Institute report, “evidence indicates that the quality of coaching is a key factor in maximizing positive effects,” of youth sports.
But Not Everyone Has Access:
The State of Play reports states that only 38% of kids from homes making less than $25,000 play team sports. This is compared to 67% of kids from families making $100,000 or more.
“In today’s youth sports landscape, those who have the greatest opportunity to continue playing into adolescence are those who can afford the club teams, training, and equipment required to advance through the system”