NYSP continues despite funding cuts - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

NYSP continues despite funding cuts

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Coach Robert Skinner Coach Robert Skinner
Coach Jesse Massey Coach Jesse Massey
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Despite years of budget cuts, the National Youth Sports Program is still alive in Albany, helping underprivileged children stay active during the summer. But they had to make changes to make ends meet.

Cheerleading, dance, swimming and basketball. Those are just some of the activities that are part of the National Youth Sports Program, keeping 9 to 15 year-olds active and off the streets.

"I think it's very important to have kids be in a structured environment. In an environment where they not only receive help on some of the skills of athletics. But they also receive two meals, USDA meals during the day," said Richard Skinner, the NYSP Director.
 
The five week program hosted by Albany State University used to be funded through the city and county governments, but now relies on private donations.

"With the county and the city not necessarily funding us, that hurt. That really did," said Jesse Massey, the NYSP Liaison Officer.

Massey has been with the program since it began, 39 years ago. And appreciates the donations from churches and civic organizations across South Georgia.

"A dollar is not a terrible thing to waste when you're talking about keeping 9, 10, 11, 12 year-olds off the street, occupying their time from 7:30 to 3 o'clock everyday. That's a good thing," said Massey.
 
To make ends meet organizers have cut their staff back by about 15 and made the program more like a camp.

"That hurts us right in the side because you really want to hire professional people, as many as you can to work with our 9, 10, 12, 15 year old children and that's a problem," said Massey.
   
A problem they're refusing to let impact the experience of these youngsters who look forward to this program every year.

The program began May 27th with 156 children, by June 3rd there were 325.

There are about three and a half weeks left of the program and there's still time to sign up and also donate. For information contact Robert Skinner at 229-430-3817 or 229-430-4762 on Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.

 

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