Program Coordinator – BIG League Sports, sends letter of support for

To: Sprout Fund

Dear Grant Administrators:

As a City of Pittsburgh employee, I have worked as a  Rec. Center Director and a Program Coordinator for the CitiParks BIG League Program for 16 years. During these many years of service, I have come to know Mr. Mark Rauterkus in various roles throughout both my employment and personally in my community.  I have a great deal of respect for his vision and forward thinking and his ability to work tirelessly for the youth of the City of Pittsburgh.

I want to express my sincere hope that you look upon the application of in the most favorable ways and grant the support to these efforts. The city’s youth need more programs and this is an original approach that puts some extra academic push behind the sports, teams, coaches, players and communities we serve. In my professional opinion I believe it is essential moving forward using technology that kids are already very familiar with.

It is wonderful to stand among a number of other great community institutions in this effort. Our recreation centers and our programs with BIG League are sure to welcome the extra attention and participation from high school aged citizens of Pittsburgh.

BIG League offers a number of sports opportunities such as one day competitions, Junior Pirates, baseball, softball, soccer and futsal to name a few. The program services more than 4,000 kids under 18 every year. I can tell you our kids would love to have extra help with technology and other enrichment experiences that this program is going to provide.

Moving forward we expect to start running sports academies at West Penn Recreation Center and expand programming to utilize the fitness rooms we now have at our disposal. One idea is a Pull Your Own Weight competition that I could see this program being a huge part of the experience. Anything extra we can offer to get youth involved in not only individual but group activities gives us an advantage and makes us more appealing to kids that have a hundred other thing to pull their attention away.  We find ourselves in a day and age where technology has taken over our lives. We need to find a way to recognize that usage and make it something that is integrated into our programming. Resources are depleting daily and we are not able to keep up with the simple needs let alone introduce a new and exciting attraction to inner city kids. I believe having this to offer would put us over the edge and really make us stand out in a city where champs are made. Having this will help us make more champs.

I thank you for your time and serious consideration in this matter.

Michelle L. AulProgram Coordinator – BIG League Sports

Acting Center Director – West Penn Recreation Center

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