Over the past three years the San Leandro Sports Foundation (SLSF) has donated more than $42,000 to the Sports and Health and Fitness Programs in our elementary, middle and high schools in the San Leandro Unified School District. The bulk of these donations were raised at community events (Celebrating Burrell, Run for the Schools and our Spaghetti Feed), which served the dual purpose of raising critical funds and creating awareness. While we are fighting the good fight, the money we raised at these events will not nearly cover the funding deficit caused by years of state budget cuts to extracurricular and school physical education programs. And more budget cuts are expected this year.
The urgency generated by these budget cuts demands our immediate action. Tragically, at a time when our children are forming life-long health habits, many important programs will suffer further reductions or could be completely eliminated. Especially hard hit are those fitness/wellness programs in middle to low-income school districts–precisely the demographic most at risk. The loss of school fitness/wellness programs will have a negative impact on the health of our children and the vitality of our community. The loss of after school sports programs, which occupy thousands of high-energy adolescents with healthy, supervised, character-building activities, seems almost “un-American.” Yet, that is what the future holds, unless we act now.
It is not enough to point the finger of blame at Sacramento, and hang our heads in resignation and lament the loss of these vital programs. We need to shift the funding paradigm and create a sustainable funding mechanism that encourages the private sector to take ownership of their local schools, and to the full extend possible enable these programs to thrive–not merely survive.
I know that you are aware of the many problems facing our schools and you sincerely desire to improve, as much as possible, the state of our education system. I also know that you have many options when selecting organizations to support. That is why I encourage you to further investigate the merits of donating to the San Leandro Sports Foundation. I am readily available, by phone or person, to discuss the Foundation’s qualifications and sponsorship opportunities.
President, San Leandro Sports Foundation