DES MOINES, Iowa – Des Moines Public Schools and Des Moines Parks and Recreation are teaming up to make youth community programs more affordable.
Students in the district who qualify for the free and reduced lunch program can register for youth sports and swim lessons for just $5.
Des Moines Parks and Recreation Marketing Supervisor Jen Fletcher said, “We decided initially it was going to be 50 percent off and we took this to council and they decided to take it another step further and knock it down to $5.”
Around 25,000 students qualify for the program.
DMPS Communications Director Phil Roeder said the district sees a difference in students who are involved in extra-curricular activities.
“When we look at students that are involved in activities versus those who aren’t, we always see better results academically from those that are. They are more focused, more engaged with school, more excited about school,” Roeder said.
Roeder said about 56 percent of students in the district are currently involved in an activity, which is up from last year.
“What this does for us is just create more opportunities for students to get involved at an earlier age so that they develop that interest, develop some skills and then hopefully carry those on throughout high school,” Roeder said.
The programs that are offered include:
- Coach Pitch Baseball – Grades 1-2
- Tee Ball – Grades K-1
- Swim Lessons -Grades K-12 (Group Lessons Only)
- Youth Basketball for Pre-K- 7
- Youth Flag Football for Pre-K- 7
- Youth Soccer for Pre-K – 7
- Youth Volleyball – Grades 1-7
“There’s a bit of an obesity problem in our society, so the more kids can get out, get active, can put down their phones and be involved in competitive activity, the better they are going to be the rest of their lives,” Fletcher said.
The program is being subsidized by the department and is actively seeking donors and sponsors.
Students can sign up now for the program.
Click here to learn more about the ‘Youth Recreational Scholarship Program.’