Sally Osterberg (left) and Katie Ferguson are two active Menlo Park moms who looked around their community and spotted a disparity: Most MP and Atherton kids playing youth sports quickly grow out of their equipment, which is often discarded when still almost new. But many kids in nearby communities can’t participate in sports at all because their families can’t afford the equipment. Why not connect the two?
They did just that a year ago, launching a new non-profit, Kids 4 Sports, with a mandate to help fund after-school sports programs, coaches, and referees, and collect or purchase sports equipment for underserved kids in East Menlo Park and East Palo Alto.
In their first year, they’ve focused on the equipment part of their mission, holding spring and fall collection drives. But with their first major fundraiser, a 5K and Family Fun Run scheduled for this Sunday, August 29, they hope to start raising the money necessary to begin funding after-school sports programs, which have disappeared from some nearby communities.
“The research we’ve done shows that participating in sports is a vehicle for kids to excel in school,” says Katie. “We also found studies that suggest it’s bad to take sports away from kids who are not doing well academically. You could be taking away the one thing that’s keeping them in school.”
The running event was an easy fit for Katie and Sally, both runners, who started an after school running program for kids at Oak Knoll School, where they also help with the annual Otter Run.
Both women expressed gratitude to their inaugural event’s sponsors – 24 Lost Soles, Pacific Peninsula Custom Group, Fleet Feet Sports, the Paul Family, Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield, & Byers, Menlo Swim & Sport, and Camp Ferguson – and hope to see 200 to 300 participants on Sunday. Online registration is available through Friday, October 27. Day of race registration will be available starting at 7:00 am. The race kicks off at Oak Knoll School at 8:30 am. Walkers and strollers are welcome.
Photo by Chris Gulker