Return to Headlines

Grant to Support Free Participation in After-School Sports

KidsPlay participants

Sign-up link for more information (Franklin & Holmes families only)

The Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda Union Free School District received a $20,000 grant from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Funds administered by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo for Youth Sports to support student participation in after-school athletic programming. As a result of this pilot initiative, approximately 239 students from two of the district’s elementary schools, Franklin Elementary School and Holmes Elementary School, will be able to participate in after-school organized youth sports programs operated on the school sites by KidsPlay and Snyder Track and Field. Their participation fees will be underwritten by the grant. Through these programs, students will have the ability to sample a variety of sports such as basketball, soccer, floor hockey, flag football, and track and field.

The one-year grant will be administered by the district’s Adult and Community Education Department led by Director Liza Acanfora. The grant was sought after the department realized that fewer students from Holmes and Franklin Elementary, the two elementary schools in the district with the highest percentage of students identified as economically disadvantaged, were participating in after-school programs such as KidsPlay and Snyder Track and Field. The purpose of the grant was to eliminate barriers that prevented students from enjoying the same opportunities as their peers so that they may experience the benefits of organized sports.

“Youth sports participation is crucial for the comprehensive development of children and adolescents. Engaging in organized sports offers numerous benefits beyond physical fitness. It fosters social connections and teamwork, while also promoting mental well-being and personal growth. Through sports, school-aged youth learn essential life skills such as resilience, perseverance, and effective communication. Participation in sports contributes to the prevention of childhood obesity and the development of healthy habits that can last a lifetime,” said Liza Acanfora, Director of Adult & Community Education.

Snyder participants

The Ken-Ton School District Adult & Community Education Department, which is among the largest operations of its kind in Western New York, operates programs in a multitude of areas including community education, adult English as a Second Language, GED preparation, and workforce development. The goal of the department is to offer additional opportunities in the greater Ken-Ton community that extend beyond the traditional K-12 framework. This pilot initiative will begin in Holmes and Franklin Elementary Schools, with intentions to expand the program subject to the availability of future grant funding.

Snyder participant

The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Funds were established at the Community Foundation to provide support to four areas that were important to Mr. Wilson: caregivers, community assets, design and access, and youth sports. Endowment funds, like these created to honor Mr. Wilson, are designed to grow over time and provide funding for charitable causes according to a client’s wishes.