COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) – Thousands of children in southern Colorado have the opportunity to participate in youth sports. The opportunity is free until at least 2026 thanks to the program created by Olympic City USA. Over three years, the organization received a $225,000 grant from the Daniels Fund and another $50,000 grant from the Dakota Foundation.
Olympic City USA received additional funding for the initiative from Boeing, the Chapman Foundations, Children’s Hospital of Colorado, Comcast, the Gazette Charities Foundation and the Schuck Foundation.
On Monday, $339,500 was raised for the initiative. All funds will be used to waive entry fees for the Soccer, T-Ball, Baseball and Softball Age Divisions through the City Athletic Office on a first come, first served.
“At Olympic City USA, we recognize the positive impact youth sports can have on children that will last a lifetime,” said Olympic City USA Task Force Co-Chair Janet Suthers. “The ability to play should not be limited by the ability to pay fees, and this initiative aims to remove that barrier, especially for families who need a boost. We are grateful to partners and granting agencies who believe the same, and we look forward to expanding this program to reach more children in more age groups.
In fall 2022, the first 460 children were granted a $78 waiver on their K-4 city park fees.
“Bill Daniels believed in the power of sport to build important values that help our young people throughout their lives, such as character, teamwork and discipline,” said Hanna Skandera, President and CEO of the Daniels Fund. “The rewarding benefits of sport should be accessible to young people from all walks of life and we are delighted to provide this opportunity.
“Our ultimate goal is to make sports accessible through the City Athletic Office to all elementary school children by removing financial barriers to participation,” said Janet Suthers. “We are taking a phased approach and working to ensure we have enough funding and enough coaches to support all of these kids. We are extremely proud of the impact of this initiative in our community, and we are excited to see it grow.