By Michelle Millet
As the number of children in Davis who live in poverty continues to grow, the need for our community to step in and help support these kids and their families grows with it.
The Davis 1,000 Mentors for Youth Challenge is working to do just that. This joint effort between the city of Davis and the Davis Joint Unified School District hopes to draw on and expand the community’s existing mentoring programs in an effort to help close the opportunity gap that often keeps our economically disadvantaged children from reaching their full potential.
Davis provides exceptional opportunities for our youths, but to be a truly exceptional community we need to ensure that these opportunities are equally available to all youths regardless of economic status.
To help make certain that every child has equal access to the many wonderful programs offered in our community the Davis 1,000 Mentors for Youth Challenge is taking this opportunity to highlight some of the scholarships available to youths who need financial assistance in order to participate in these programs.
* Davis AYSO is a recreational youth soccer league run by volunteers whose mission is to provide world-class youth soccer programs that enrich children’s lives. The league supports more than 1,800 players in its fall season and more than 600 in its spring season.
Any player who qualifies for free or reduced lunch at school automatically qualifies for a full AYSO scholarship. Other scholarship requests are awarded on a sliding scale basis. No player is turned away due to inability to pay.
AYSO also has other ways for kids to participate in soccer at no cost, such as being a youth trainer (assistant coach), youth referee, or buddy for its VIP program (a program for alter-abled players who are not able to participate in the mainstream program). Training and uniforms for these volunteer positions are free.
For more information, visit www.davisayso.org.
* Davis Little League believes that each child who wishes to play baseball should be entitled to do so regardless of skill, gender or financial circumstances. The league does not deny any child the opportunity to play baseball due to financial hardship.
Depending on the need, the DLL registration assistance program will cover some or all registration cost. A registration fee payment plan is also available. Applications for assistance must be filled out online and are available through a link on the Davis Little League website, davislittleleague.siplay.com.
* Davis Aquadarts offers swim programs for all levels of swimmers, including year-round programs as well as summer recreational teams, and fall and spring seasonal programs. Scholarships applications are available online. Forms are due each August, or upon joining the team. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Davis AquaMonsters is a grassroots swim team that offers swimmers a variety of opportunities for children ages 5 to 18. The success of the team has revolved around the idea that swimmers should have fun in the sport and be allowed to participate as a valued team member at any level of commitment. Financial assistance is available to families who could benefit. For more information, contact Koren Motekaitis at email@example.com.
* The Davis Arts Center offers a wide variety of classes and workshops for children, teens, adults and families. Community members can choose from ceramics, dancing, weaving, painting, drawing, cartooning, bookmaking, knitting, drama, music, yoga, martial arts, creative writing and numerous special-interest classes in everything from cupcake decorating to computer coding.
The Davis Arts Center maintains two scholarship funds. The Davis Arts Center Scholarship Fund provides full or partial remission of class fees for any student who demonstrates need and the Arthur Heehler Memorial Fund provides full or partial remission of class fees for adult creative writing students who demonstrate need.
Applications forms must be submitted at least three weeks before the start of the requested class in order to be considered. More information can be found online at www.davisartscenter.org.
* The Davis Schools Orchestral Music Association is a nonprofit volunteer organization that celebrates, promotes and supports a vision of a comprehensive musical education for all students in the Davis public schools.
Each year, the association serves about 1,000 Davis students from fourth grade through high school. It supports eight prize-winning student orchestras by assisting with instrument purchases, maintenance and repairs; supplying sheet music; supporting concerts; organizing field trips; advocating for our schools’ music programs; and providing scholarships and assistance to make the music programs available to every student who wants to play orchestral music.
To learn more about specific programs visit www.groups.dcn.org/dsoma.
* Acme Theatre Company is a youth-run, nonprofit theater company. Its mission is to present plays of high literary quality while providing opportunities for young people to learn various acting and technical skills in an organization run entirely by young people themselves under the direction of a small cadre of adult mentors. Visit www.acmetheatre.net.
* The city of Davis maintains a scholarship program for residents of all ages who live in the Davis school district boundaries. These funds may be used to help with recreation program fees, such as camp or class registrations, family swim passes, etc. Scholarship eligibility is dependent on the family’s size and combined income.
Applications are available at the Parks and Community Services Department at City Hall, 23 Russell Blvd., or on the city’s website at www.cityofdavis.org.
You can help
The Davis 1,000 Mentors for Youth Challenge is committed to finding ways to remove the barriers that keep youths in our community from taking full advantage of the many wonderful opportunities available to them, and we are asking for the community’s help to accomplish this.
A list of scholarship opportunities is being compiled to made available to the public. Please let us know if you are aware of one that was not mentioned. Also, if you, your service club or your business are willing to sponsor scholarships for individual youths or help in other ways, please take this opportunity to share your ideas and offer your support to help bridge the growing resource gap that exists in our community.