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Ryan Piurek
IU Media Relations

Last modified: Thursday, July 10, 2003

National sports program for disadvantaged youth under way at IUB

Hundreds of disadvantaged youth are taking over the playing fields, tracks, gyms, pools and classrooms at Indiana University Bloomington until Aug. 1 as part of a National Youth Sports Program being hosted by the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation.

The program is for at-risk boys and girls between the ages of 10 and 16 who are from Monroe County and the surrounding area. Since the program began on June 23, the children have participated -- at no cost -- in a number of physical and educational activities geared toward improving their physical fitness, engaging them in competition and encouraging them to develop healthy lifestyles. Activities include swimming, softball, soccer, judo, tennis and track and field, as well as classes on proper nutrition, social skills, career development and drug and alcohol prevention.

For many of these children, it is their first experience in a university environment and a first chance to become acquainted with the career and educational opportunities a university provides.

"What we're doing here is bringing kids to IU and trying to make the university friendlier to them," said Keith Chapin, a clinical associate professor in the Department of Kinesiology at HPER and the program's administrator. "We're also giving these kids opportunities that they wouldn't be getting if they were at home, unsupervised, all day long. It's a structured program with athletic and educational opportunities that fits with the mission of the NYSP and recognizes the importance of addressing both physical and mental development in children."

Chapin praised the program for bringing the university and the surrounding community together. Chapin and his staff of about 40 have worked closely with university officials, local businesses, community educators, school corporations, healthcare providers and transit operators to serve the 150-200 kids who arrive at HPER each morning. Children are bused to and from the camp, receive snacks and a nutritional lunch, and participate in a busy schedule of morning and afternoon activities. On Friday mornings, they hear lectures by IU coaches and athletes.

The NYSP was founded in 1968 through efforts of the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sport. To learn more about the NYSP, go to

For additional information, contact Chapin at 812-855-1379 or