A foster mom recognizes the power of sport.
Spring Wurst and her husband have a household of eight kids, ranging from eight years old to 18 years old. When she found out about the Pass, she asked all eight kids if they wanted to play soccer, and all eight said “yes!” She is busy finding cleats for them and figuring out the logistics of getting all the kids to practice. “Between myself, my husband, and two teenage drivers, along with some other people who said they will help, we will be able manage,” says Spring.
“I have a heart for kids. Growing up, I saw a lot of kids lose their parents for various reasons and how hard it was on them. I want to give kids a place where they can feel safe while they heal from whatever trauma they are coming from.”
Five of the kids that the Wurst family care have been in foster care. The Wurst’s adopted three of those kids, and the other two remain in their care as foster kids. What compels Spring to put the effort into making sure that all the kids in her household are able to play? “On the field, these kids aren’t “foster” kids. They get to be like any other kid and have a sense of normalcy. They can relax and play hard; they often have a lot of anxiety and fear, and they are able to work off the negative energy that comes from having a trauma background.”
There are advocacy groups working to ensure that all foster kids are given the opportunity to engage in extracurricular activities, to counteract the negative impacts of childhood trauma.
“When a child is exposed to developmentally healthy experiences, the brain can actually ‘rewire’ itself to counteract the damage caused by traumatic experiences and to develop resilience” cites a brief by the Youth Law Center (January, 2019.)
Spring has seen this resilience in the kids she has cared for, and the sense of pride and self- confidence they can gain by participating in sports. “Foster kids are some of the toughest kids I have ever met. When they put their heart into playing and use that toughness to achieve their goals, they feel good about themselves and become more confident.” She encourages the kids to enroll in school sports programs, and cites an example of one kid that joined the school cross country team, who quickly proved to be a very talented runner and who now enjoys a variety of sports.
Foster parents are often unsure of how long a child will stay with them, and that can create reluctance to enroll and spend money on structured programming for that child while they are in care. Every Kid Sports helps overcome that reluctance by providing assistance to foster families through our Pass program. We provide $150.00 per child, four times per year, to cover registration fees and provide foster kids with all the benefits of sports participation.
For more information and to access the Pass application, please visit www.everykidsports.org.
– The Every Kid Sports team