Project Play

Community Foundation Commits to Build Healthy Communities
for All Children through Sports.

The Community Foundation has partnered with the Aspen Institute, Jake Peavy Foundation, and The Caring Foundation on Project Play, a movement to reimagine youth sports in our local communities with health and inclusion as core values.

Project Play is just one of the Community Foundation’s local commitments to “Closing the Opportunity Gap” for our kids living in underserved communities.

The Community Foundation convened local leaders from public and private sectors to work together with the Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program to conduct a regional assessment of the landscape of youth sports in Mobile County and produce the following report, State of Play: Mobile County.

Some key findings in the report:

One in three children in Mobile County is overweight, twice the national rate. Nearly 20 percent of youth in Mobile County are overweight and another 22.5 percent are obese.

Girls have fewer sports opportunities than boys. Girls said they are staying out of sports due to lack of interest and believing that they are not good enough. Only 15.2 percent of girls ages 14 to 18 meet the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity per day, compared to 35.5 percent of boys the same age.

Twenty-six percent of youth said they have played in a game where adults bet on the result. This knowledge was most commonly reported by youth football players, but also witnessed by baseball and basketball players and by both genders. The report recommended that the city and county improve and enforce permit standards for facility use to create a safe environment for children.

The county has fewer recreation and fitness facilities than the national average. Old warehouses have provided opportunities to create innovative play spaces.

One-third of Alabama families who have a child with a disability reported it’s “very hard” to obtain recreational opportunities.

Basketball (boys) and cheerleading/dance (girls) are the most popular sports for Mobile County youth. The No. 1 reason youth said they play sports is to be with friends. Winning was No. 9.

The Community Foundation aims to level the playing field for kids, regardless of zip code. By educating and empowering coaches, parents, athletes, and the leaders of youth sports programs, we have the ability to re-energize Southwest Alabama communities to be active and allow every child the opportunity to play.