The Case Western Reserve University chapter of the National Youth Sports Program (NYSP) doesn't officially end its summer 2008 camp until the week of July 7, but Project Administrator Dennis Harris and his staff are already looking ahead to 2009.
In addition to $60,000 from the City of Cleveland, NYSP also has received commitments from several nonprofit and corporate foundations to help cover costs associated with this year's camp, which includes over 400 children ages 10-16 primarily from economically disadvantaged families. During the camp, children participate in a variety of physical activities such as basketball and swimming, and they also receive instruction in reading, mathematics and science, as well as information on health, nutrition and physical fitness.
"We haven't received one dime from the federal government. But for the university and the City of Cleveland, we're going to make this happen," Harris told the audience at an NYSP-sponsored open house June 20. Attendees had an opportunity to watch video presentations, tour educational and athletic workshops, hear testimonials from several NYSP alumni, and interact with the camp's children and staff. Campus community members who did not have an opportunity to attend the open house can watch a video about NYSP's outreach efforts. The video was produced by MediaVision.
Harris said private and corporate donors, as well as the university and individuals, have kept the program afloat this year in the absence of federal funding. Now staff and volunteers are asking for additional assistance to ensure they are able to continue serving Cleveland-area children in the future.
In one year alone, NYSP has provided 549 free medical examinations for children, and the staff found hundreds of pre-existing medical conditions, including asthma, allergies, obesity, vision problems and hypertension. As a result, they notified 219 parents about the children’s medical conditions, and performed 28 follow-up exams. The medical outreach is performed by students from the university's Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing and the School of Medicine.
Walter Henderson, an NYSP advisory board member, flew in from Arizona for the open house. He said despite the national budget cuts, Case Western Reserve's NYSP chapter is a model. "I commend you because you're rescuing your children. When they (the federal government) dropped the ball, you picked it up. Under Dennis Harris, this is a program you can be very proud of. Others seek to emulate it."
In addition to funding opportunities, NYSP also welcomes faculty members and staff who would be interested in teaching a class or assisting with the program's administrative efforts. For more information, contact Harris via e-mail or by phone at 368-4843.
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