The Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER) at Coastal Carolina University recently received a federal grant to host the National Youth Sport Program (NYSP), beginning this summer. The NYSP provides children from low-income families with academic preparation and instruction designed to improve their physical fitness and health habits. The program also helps them become acquainted with career and educational opportunities at a university.
All participants in the program receive, at no cost, a medical screening with appropriate follow-up, nutritious meals, transportation and academic and sports skill instruction. The program at Coastal will last for five weeks and university students may work as project aides, instructors and counselors. The primary staff will be Coastal faculty, staff and Horry County teachers. The program's first-year goal is to enroll approximately 200 children, with at least 90 percent meeting current poverty guidelines.
Coastal Carolina University is one of nine universities in the country to receive a 2003 NYSP program. About 200 universities nationwide currently house the program. Base funding for Coastal's 2003 program is $50,000, with additional contributions of sports equipment and clothing by the NYSP.
Gib Darden, chairman of HPER, will serve as project administrator for the 2003 NYSP program. He recently attended the NYSP National Training Workshop in Orlando. Staff for the project will be hired in early spring, with the primary staff attending a second training workshop in Clearwater, Fla., in May.
"This is an exciting opportunity to engage the community and its citizens on a variety of levels," Darden said. "The mission to enable youth from low-income families to be more active in both education and physical activity is an awesome and timely one."
The NYSP fund is a non-profit organization established to administer the National Youth Sports Program. The fund receives a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Administration for Children and Families, and the Office of Community Services) and support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The program is conducted by selected institutions of higher education in partnership with the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
For more information, call Darden at 349-2944.