UW Combined Fund Drive

September 28, 2021

Giving Everyone a Chance to Play

YMCA youth sports programs focus on health and fun / YMCA of Greater Seattle

Seattle sports teams had an eventful weekend. The Mariners took down the Angles twice, the OL Reign beat Orlando by 3 goals, and the Seattle Storm’s future Hall of Famer, Sue Bird, may have played her last game.

But that’s not all: the Kraken played and won their first pre-season game ever, the Sounders took down Kansas City 2-1, and the UW huskies won an overtime thriller over Cal.  

As Seattle flexes its muscles, it is easy to forget that nearly every player on every team started out as a kid just wanting to have fun. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson recalls his first ever game in an organized league walking on the field having had just one practice with the team and it all clicked. They ended up “blowing [the number one team in the area] out like 60-7.

Every child should have the opportunity to play. However, many children face barriers such as cost and availability when it comes to access to sports. According to the National Recreation and Parks Association, youth from low-income communities, girls, black, indigenous, LGBTQ+, youth with disabilities, and youth of color face additional obstacles accessing safe, affordable and high-quality sports opportunities. 

The Benefits to Play 

This imbalance means that a percentage of youth are missing out on the benefits of starting sports at an early age. Studies show that youth who participate in sports are less likely to experience obesity, have lower levels of depressions, and even perform better academically. Building these habits young can have long term effects.

 The President’s Counsel on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition reports that children who play sports are eight times more likely to be physically active at the age of 24 than those who do not play sports, and active communities also tend to have lower health care costs. Sports can be a great way to lower stress, build leadership qualities, improve bone health, and create connections.  

Stay Active UW  

Here at the University of Washington, The Whole U focuses on holistic wellness. They provide information on a number of topics like eating well and offer fitness classes like a daily 15 minute yoga session. They also highlight a number of different ways to stay healthy and continue to live an active lifestyle.  

Ways to Support  

Consider making a one-time gift or setting up monthly payroll deduction through the UWCFD to one of our member organizations actively working to make youth sports accessible to all:

Special Olympics Washington (charity code 0315427) provide year-round sports training and competitions for people with intellectual disabilities to improve physical fitness and motor skills, increase self-confidence, create friendships, and empower individuals.  

YMCA of Greater Seattle (charity code 0337121) A leading youth and family human service organization since 1876, offering child care, teen development, camping, youth educational/employment programs, youth sports, plus wellness for all ages.

Upower (charity code 1482936) provides fitness, health, and wellness classes to underserved youth in King County at no cost to them in order to create a more equitable and inclusive across the playing field so everyone can receive the benefits. 

Women’s Sports Foundation (charity code 1480188) work to advance the lives of girls and women through sport and physical activity by advocating for equality, educating the public, conducting research, and offering grants. 

Sports in Schools (charity code 1480182) supports low-income, under resourced middle and high school based athletic programs to give equitable access to quality equipment, apparel, and opportunities. 

Up2Us (charity code 1481717) engages and trains youth sports and development coaches, practitioners, and organizations to address issues experienced by under-resourced urban communities.

Contributed by UWCFD Campaign Assistant Kate Montebello
Kate Montebello is serving as one of the 2021 Combined Fund Drive Campaign Assistants. She graduated from Villanova University with a degree in Communications as well as a minor in both History and Peace & Justice.