THE NEW YEAR is getting a good start at Sunol
Glen School with the addition of a wonderful new sports and
activities program. Sports4Kids will begin serving our school
when the new semester begins on January 24, providing a variety
of sports and leadership activities during and after school.
Jill Vialet, Executive Director of Sports4Kids worked with
Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggertys office to bring
the program to Sunol Glen. Basically, we provide lunchtime,
recess and after-school sports throughout Alameda County,
Jill said. The program is in its sixth year and were
currently serving 36 elementary schools and over 19,000 young
people. We work from a framework of youth development we basically
use sports as a tool for teaching kids about inclusion and working
together and a pure joy in play.
The organization emphasizes skill-based rather than competitive
sports activities. One of its primary tenets is that positive
sports programming helps kids of all ages and abilities to learn
basic athletic skills, build self-esteem and confidence, develop
social skills and make friends.
This is a laudable and much-needed program. Sports4Kids reports
that due to budget cuts, public elementary school students get,
on average, only 45 minutes of physical education per week.
Thankfully, Sunol Glen is far above average, with PE classes
four days a week for the upper grades and at least three for
the lower grades. Our site coordinator will help the schools
PE teacher in whatever way works best, Jill explained.
The coordinators work independently at each school, so
if, for example, theyre great at marshal arts, they might
work with the PE teacher to put something together around that.
The program provides constructive sports activities during
recess and lunchtime, which often lowers the discipline problems
that occur at those times. Sports4Kids lunchtime and recess
programming includes game supervision, non-competitive games,
leadership and conflict-resolution training through its Junior
Coach program, and introduction to new sports.
After-school program activities include homework help, interscholastic
games, snacks, field days, special multi-school events called
Friday Specials, and field trips. With programs running in Sunols
neighboring communities of Fremont, Hayward and Livermore, interdistrict
tournaments are a possibility.
In addition to activities at the school, Sports4Kids also coordinates
a coed volleyball league that will begin in March and a girls
basketball league, as well as summer sports camps for special
populations and a high school mentoring project training teens
to assist with tutoring and other after-school activities.
According to Jill, the site coordinator for Sunol Glen is in
the final hiring stages Ill introduce the lucky Sunol-bound
person in a future column. Sports4Kids is a private, non-profit
organization and is always looking for volunteers to help lead
playground activities and games at any of its school sites.
Volunteers assist the Site Coordinator in checking out playground
equipment, organizing and playing games like kickball, 4-square,
jump rope, etc., and other activities.
The time commitment is flexible and volunteers can spend as
much or as little time as they want. In-school programs usually
run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and after school from 2 to 5 p.m.
No experience or physical aptitude is required just a desire
to play with kids and have fun! For more information on volunteering,
please call Sports4Kids at 510-893-4180. If youve guessed
that volunteering is going to be one of my big themes for 02,
youve got that right!