Assemblymember Monica P. Wallace (D-Lancaster) and Sydney Park, who was crowned 2021 Miss New York, recently met with youth sports advocates to discuss their efforts to benefit underprivileged children and teens through new investments in youth sports programs. Assemblymember Wallace passed provisions in the 2021-22 budget to allocate 1 percent of mobile sports betting revenue for youth sports programs in the first year and $5 million per year thereafter.
Additional investments in youth sports will benefit organizations like G.I.R.L.S. Sports Foundation, Inc., which serves underprivileged girls ages 8 to 18 in Western New York. On Tuesday, Assemblymember Wallace and Park met with coaches, volunteers, and participants in the program and toured the foundation’s facilities in the Buffalo Renaissance Foundation Community Center, where the foundation is currently holding its Sports Sampling Camp.
G.I.R.L.S. (Goals, Integrity, Respect, Leadership, Sports) Sports Foundation, Inc. was founded in 2007 in order to use sports to promote the importance of academic achievement, respect, self-confidence, and healthy lifestyles among girls in under-resourced communities in Western New York.
“Research shows the enormous benefits of youth sports. Regular participation in sports improves physical health, builds camaraderie, and reduces harmful behaviors among in kids,” said Assemblymember Wallace. “I’m grateful for organizations like G.I.R.L.S. Sports Foundation, Inc. for providing these benefits to the young people in our community who need it most, and to my colleagues in the Legislature for passing my plan to use mobile sports revenue to support these critical programs.”
“Youth sports introduce girls and young women throughout Western New York to positive role models while encouraging healthy behaviors and confident self-image,” said Daycia Clarke, director of Youth Sports Initiatives at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. “Unfortunately, between the ages of 10 and 14, more than half of these girls stop playing sports for a variety of reasons. By creating fun opportunities for girls to gain confidence and a love for sports, organizations like G.I.R.L.S. Sports Foundation, Inc. plays a vital role in supporting underserved youth in our community.”
“It is important to support New York’s youth through the continued advocacy for youth sports funding,” said Park, who is an advocate for youth sports programs in the New York City area. “Quality sports programming for kids is integral to their development because sports provide kids with the opportunity to develop their teamwork and leadership skills and teach them skills that they will use for the rest of their lives.