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Beyond Sports NC

Nonprofit spotlight: Beyond Sports NC

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Ruth Anderson July-0902

Ruth D. Anderson is program committee chairwoman for the Guilford Nonprofit Consortium and executive director of The Servant Leadership School of Greensboro. 2002 photo

Beyond Sports NC supports Title 1 schools and students in Guilford County by providing sports equipment, resources and opportunities to play.

Title 1 schools have high numbers of children from low-income families. The nonprofit was created to support students in third through eighth grades in sports and academics at those schools.

Research suggests that participating in sports helps children develop physically, emotionally, socially and even academically. Unfortunately, not all students have access to play and not all schools have adequate equipment and apparel.

In Guilford County, 45,000 (or 62%) of children in our school system are from low-income households and do not have the resources or the opportunities to engage in sports.

Beyond Sports NC eliminates the financial barriers of sports by providing equipment, play opportunities and resources for coaches and mentors. The nonprofit’s leadership believes that getting children into sports at a younger age has a life-long impact.

Paul Travers, principal at Washington Montessori Elementary School, appreciates the partnership with Beyond Sports NC to support the health and wellness of his students. Throughout this past academic year, the nonprofit has provided a sports clinic once a week for six weeks during recess for the students. By the end of the school year, they will have worked with nine classes and approximately 180 students — more than half of the school’s students.

For the elementary years, Beyond Sports NC introduces students to a variety of sports and also supports after-school clubs for those who are interested in building skills. In middle school, the program offers clinics prior to tryouts of any middle school sport to encourage participation and to distribute necessary equipment. They also help prepare students for additional sport opportunities during high school.

In the fall of 2021, Suzanne Fray, school social worker of Hunter Elementary School, began working with Beyond Sports NC and appreciates the group’s impact beyond sports. Fray said that they talk with students about their future and how grades and attendance go hand in hand with being a member of an athletic team.

Fray also likes how Hunter students get to meet college athletes who come to the school to volunteer and hear the stories of how hard work and studying leads to success.

Travers said he values how Beyond Sports NC is a force for equity and concern.

“Beyond Sports genuinely learns about our students’ needs, and responds with compassion through the sports clinics they provide,” Travers said. “They provide sports access to sports like wrestling and rowing, where over 95% of our students are underrepresented.”

Fray said the program is much needed.

“In our time of COVID, isolation and children obsessed with phone, tablets and anything technology, Beyond Sports is a breath of fresh air … teaching children the value of play, working together for a common goal, building confidence and igniting dreams for the future,” Fray said.

Readers can contact Ruth Anderson by email at ruth@secondbreathcenter.com.

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