Every year, about 60 million kids across the U.S. head to gyms, fields, and the great outdoors to compete and have fun. Playing team sports like soccer or field hockey is a great way to get physical exercise, spend time with friends, and learn teamwork. But the cost of uniforms, equipment, and fees for being part of a team can make these activities too expensive for many kids to participate in. Even if a potential player can afford it, a sport might not be playable because it doesn’t accommodate a disability.
A new program in Los Angeles, California, aims to make sure all kids have a chance to play. The program, called PlayLA, offers sports and physical activities to the community at just $10 per program. That fee includes all transportation needed for location-dependent activities like surfing, as well as the cost of equipment. Every sport offered is taught by trained coaches. The program is also partnered with Team USA athletes who have represented the country at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. They meet and play with participants.
The PlayLA program offers 24 traditional sports and 14 adaptive sports, which are sports that kids with and without disabilities can play together. “It’s so important for all children to participate together,” says Edna Degollado, the director of Neighborhood Services for the City of Los Angeles.
No matter the sport, Degollado says, PlayLA’s main goal is “for kids to come out and play.”