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Help needed to put kids in sports

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Paul Bartolo, president of the Windsor Soccer Club, said that over 25 families have reached out for financial assistance after finding out funding is not available through the Jumpstart program

“We've been notified by those families, 'Hey, we've been denied [funding] because of exhausted funding for our area,'” Bartolo said.

Windsor West Little League used to have 40 players go through the Jumpstart program, but with an early cutoff for funding requests and later registration dates, they are now down to less than a handful.

“We haven't really been able to use Jumpstart for the past couple of years other than maybe two kids that got it in January,” said Windsor West Little League Club President Yvette Temple.

Jumpstart officials were not available to be interviewed before this article’s publication date.

Windsor Soccer Club and other organizations are directing families to local programs like Assist for help.

“Uniforms, to equipment, to field fees to everything else. We try to help out as many folks as possible,” Bartolo said. “We're relying on others to help out now.”

Mike Dugal, president of Assist, has been helping kids get into sports since 2008 and knows sports organizations are strapped for funds, “They can't afford to put a hundred kids in on their own dime. That's why we're here.”

Workforce Windsor-Essex stats show that the population in our region has grown by about a thousand a month since last April.

That is showing up in the number of registrations at the Windsor Soccer Club and Windsor West Little League, which is up since 2022, and they are planning for higher registration this season.

“As a not-for-profit organization and many others in this city that do this for kids, we ask for help. If you can help these other groups that are helping kids out.” Bartolo said.

An organization called Take a Shot Sports is helping kids break the barrier by teaching core sports like basketball, hockey, baseball, and golf and look to expand their offering in anticipation of population growth.

“We're hoping to expand into lacrosse, soccer and other sports we haven't thought of because we know people are coming to Take A Shot and asking for these opportunities and help to get into mainstream,” said Steve Pronger, owner of Take A Shots Sports. “There’s a lot of youth who really are desiring to have learn to play sports opportunities.”

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