A recent U.S. Census Bureau report, revealed that even short-term poverty in families can lead to children receiving fewer opportunities in extra-curricular activities such as sports. Data analyzed in the report was collected in 2018, under the Survey of Income and Program Participation.
As of the date of the study, 3.4 million children ages 12 to 17 were in poverty every month the previous year, and 2.4 million were in poverty some of the months.
One of the results of this study found that children experiencing poverty some months out of the year were less likely to play sports than those who did not experience poverty. “Even short-term bouts of poverty may be associated with fewer opportunities to excel in and out of school, including less involvement in extracurricular activities such as sports or music,” Census.gov wrote in the analysis of the data.
Brian Knop, a sociologist in the Census Bureau’s Center for Economic Studies, is the author on the article. He wrote, “This research suggests that children who experience temporary spells of poverty often face negative consequences, including less involvement in extracurricular activities, similar to those in prolonged poverty.”
Lindsey Kang, Executive Assistant for Corvallis School District Superintendent and School Board, said in an email Thursday, “Corvallis School District students are not denied the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities due to ability to pay.” She went on to say that as long as students complete an application for Free and Reduced Lunch and qualify, the district waives the costs to participate in activities.
Kang also said that if families are unable to provide their children with needed materials for an activity, like shoes for sports, the district will find a way to provide those as well. In fact, Linus Pauling Middle School and Corvallis High School are working in conjunction with a CHS Alumnus Sponsor to create an account to pay for items that may be needed by students in order to participate in a sport.
Kang noted that it is important for families to reapply every year for the Free and Reduced Lunch program and advised that more people may qualify for that assistance this year thanks to Oregon’s Student Success Act. Free and Reduced Lunch applications are strictly guarded as confidential, so in order for a student to receive assistance in other areas, like extracurriculars, the parents need to check the box on the application that allows “sharing” of information between the Food Service department to other internal departments.
For help providing children with needed items for extracurriculars, Kang recommends speaking to the coach of the activity or the district office and the district will assist in figuring out what works best for each individual family.
By Kyra Young