GR8 SPORTS, GREAT KIDS
In 2014, GRPS middle school athletes scored 7% higher on the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) standardized tests than their non-athlete counterparts.
“Middle school sports are important. When you play sports, you get to bond with new people.” -Dahlia, University Prep Academy On February 9, 2016, Dahlia shared her inspiring story at the official public launch of GR8 Sports, Great Kids at Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Academy. Dahlia is a seventh grader and three sport athlete at University Prep Academy, excelling at soccer, track and field, and wrestling. She is just one of over 5,000 students from GRPS who participate in K-8 athletics. Almost half the children in the U.S. must “pay to play” sports, and those students are four times more likely to quit the sport due to costs. The financial requirement is especially hard on low-income families. GR8 Sports, Great Kids rallies the community to eliminate that concern by offering after-school sports at no cost to students or their families. The February launch of GR8 Sports, Great Kids was celebrated by over 150 members of the community and media.
The GR8 Girls of Grand Rapids! This year over 2,000 girls, ages 5-14, will participate in after-school athletics through GR8 Sports, Great Kids. And cheering behind these girls? The strong, bold GR8 Girls. GR8 Girls is a grassroots initiative of over 50 (and growing!) local women leaders dedicated to raising support and awareness for girls in sports. These women know that girls who participate in sports have more success academically, develop higher self-esteem and are on a trajectory for success in school and in life. GR8 Girls formed as an ancillary branch of GR8 Sports, Great Kids, to ensure that girls have the needed resources to participate in after-school sports.
“Students’ access to physical activities is critical to enhance their health and wellness. It impacts their ability to go to school, to focus, to study and ultimately, to learn.” -S U P E R I N T E N D E N T WEATHERALL NEAL
In March, 2016, the GR8 Girls launched a community-wide advocacy campaign at CKO Kickboxing in downtown Grand Rapids and unveiled a 2016 signature running shirt. Proceeds from the shirt support girls athletics within GR8 Sports, Great Kids, and GR8 Girls advocates proudly wear their shirts, while running with friends, in races, and out in the community.
2 0 1 5 /2 0 1 6 A DV I S ORY C OM M I T T E E Art Gray, Chair Mel Atkins Sr. Kyle Behm Jennifer Boezwinkle Dave Custer Michael Davenport Kellie Dean Roger Jansen, Ph.D.
Kurt Johnson Greg Meyer Dr. Brandy Lovelady Mitchell Walter Moore, Jr. Misti Stanton Adam Sturdivant Michele Suchovsky Jason Zylstra
2 0 1 5 /2 0 1 6 HONOR A RY C OU NC I L Wayman Britt Cheri DeVos Doug & Maria DeVos Steven Ford Ty Hallock David Harris Shelley Irwin
Dave Mehney Peter & Joan Secchia Tim Selgo The Hon. Sara Smolenski Mickey Stanley Mike VanGessel
Annual Report 2015/2016