YOUNGSTOWN Youth sports program keeps boredom at bay

Families have the chance to see what NYSP is all about.
YOUNGSTOWN -- "I'm bored."
The common phrase is uttered from the mouths of students all summer.
But thanks to a government-funded program, innercity children put their skills to use and have fun in the process.
The National Youth Sports Program is a program offered to pupils 10 to16.
Each family participating in the program registers through the Youngstown Area Community Action Council if they meet income qualifications. Participants must provide a birth certificate and shot record for the child, Social Security cards for all household members, proof of insurance and proof of income.
Spreading the word
The program was established nationally in 1969 and has been available to Youngstown residents for eight years. But community liaison Natalie Scott said this year the word is getting out by advertising and reaching area sponsors.
"Not many people had heard of the program, let alone taken part in it," Scott explained. "This year we've had just an overwhelming response."
The 27-day educational and athletic session provides area kids with a chance to participate in activities not normally available to them. The program offers events from inline skating and golfing to science and math classes, providing daily breakfast and lunch.
Scott is planning an alcohol and drug prevention discussion as another addition to the program's agenda.
"We aren't just offering sports and recreation," Scott said. "It's a chance for kids to enhance their science and math skills throughout the summer."
When it is
The program, which has more than 350 pupils enrolled, began June 11 and continues through July 19 at Youngstown State University.
Participants arrive at 8:15 a.m. for a full day of activities, concluding at 3:15 p.m. The 20 instructors for the program are from YSU and area public schools.
The program is offered at more than 192 colleges and universities, involving more than 69,000 children nationwide.
This week, the public has an opportunity to see what NYSP is all about.
"NYSP Family First Day" is Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the YSU track, across from the tennis courts. In case of rain, the event will be at Stambaugh Stadium, second floor of the stadium gym. The event is open to members of the program, parents and the public. Area agencies will be present for the day to introduce services to families.
One sponsor for the event is Youngstown Weed and Seed, a federally funded program on the South Side that targets community cleanup and restoration.
Veronica Foster, site coordinator, said NYSP Family First Day is a way of acting out the grant's "prevention, intervention, and treatment" for youth in the community.
Other companies and agencies scheduled to attend are Cellular One, Easter Seal, Bank One and Forum Health.
Foster said this is an opportunity for the community to "promote and support programs" that offer children activities throughout the summer.

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