The heart and soul of The Iowa Clinic Healthcare Foundation is to be so much more than a non-profit that just writes checks. We have a passion for projects that allow us to roll up our sleeves and get involved in a meaningful way.
That is exactly what’s happening with our Free Sports Physical program. In August of 2018, we launched a new partnership with the Des Moines Public School district to get more students involved in after-school activities. Hundreds of kids in our community are being sidelined each year because of a huge barrier, the inability to get a sports physical.
This need came to our attention through the Rise Up Iowa grant program. Among our grant recipients was a project called “Rise Up North Des Moines”. A team of volunteers who work closely with the kids at Harding Middle School shared a vision on how to change the lives of their students, and it centered on getting them involved. A Rise Up Iowa grant not only provided free onsite sports physicals for several hundred kids, but it also provided funding to purchase much needed athletic equipment, and it provided food. More than 95% of the students at Harding Middle School are food insecure. That means the only meal they can count on is the meal served at school. Our grant provided snacks on game day and funded team dinners.
If you’re out there wondering what the ROI is on a child participating in an after-school activity, watch this video. After the staff at Harding shared the data with us about the impact onsite sports physicals were having on participation and the overall improvements in attendance and behavior, we quickly realized this was something our Foundation could take to another level.
After a series of meetings with the Des Moines Public School district, we made the decision to expand our free, onsite sports physical program to six Metro schools with the greatest need: Callanan, Harding, Hiatt, Hoyt, McCombs and Weeks. We also deliver snacks and other items (toiletries, socks, sports bras, shoes etc.) the students may need to get involved in sports.