Handling the Waves: How Do Cuts in Extracurricular Activities Affect Kids & Families (by Guest Blogger Italia H.)

ItaliaBlogPictureRead more about the Italia H. here. This post is based on the community work and writing that the author has been doing in WR 122 at Portland Community College.  The piece of public writing is loosely based on a research question and research collection the author developed.  The public writing is a chance to use one’s writing to become part of the larger community dialogue about issues in the chosen theme.

The Public Writing

Dear Senator Jackie Dingfelder:

Each year you probably get hundreds of letters from many people that ask you to change a problem or at least ask you to try. The only thing I ask you to do is listen to what I have to say. I am a college student that attends Portland Community College and when I signed up for a online writing class I did not realize that I would have to volunteer. Because I must volunteer I decided that I wanted to work with children and I ended up at a school named Bridger Elementary School. Every Thursday from three to five I help kids with snack time, homework, take them out to recess and then help supervise an enrichment class that the kids pick themselves. These classes range from little adventures, singing, yoga and so much more! Watching these kids participate in extra curricular activities has made me wonder how it effects them and their future. I started researching and I found that kids that had extra curricular activities did better in school, had more motivation and had better home lives as well. I am not just telling you things that I have researched though. In my high school years I played volleyball, a sport that I love and miss very much. Getting past that, without volleyball, without the drive of needing to get good grades to be apart of the team, without the pressure that came with all of the frustrations of loving and hating the commitment of the extra curricular activity, I would not be where I am at today. I work two jobs, one part time and one full time, go to school, volunteer (which I will continue to do even when my writing class ends) and also manage to juggle a good home life.

I believe that I am able to succeed in all of these things at once because I learned to manage high school and volleyball. It maybe me want something more then ever and it gave me the tools to do so.

This is why I worry about extra curricular activities funding. Every year more and more money that goes to sports, after school plays, clubs and activities are cut. So when these things go what will happen? Most people say that school is what drives students to do better, but I disagree. I was driven, yes, by school, but manly by playing volleyball. Having volleyball taught me commitment, gave me goals that I could achieve and showed me that failure in the right way can be better then always winning. You can’t say failing in school is ever good, but you can say that failing in life can be good when you have been taught to deal with it. I learned how to do so because of volleyball, but how will other people learn if they don’t get the chance?

Thank you so much for your time.


Italia Hensley

The Research Question & Collection

The Research Question: How do cuts in extra curricular activities affect kids and their families?I picked all of these resources because they show different aspects that have affected people and the different ways that by taking extra curricular activities away can effect you, your family and your community.Atkinson, Hilary. “Spinning For Kids” Simcoe. Barrie Advance. March 6, 2013.http://www.simcoe.com/sports-story/2500481-spinning-for-kids/

Straehley, Dayna. School: Educators push extracurricular activities. The Press- Enterprise. January 13, 2013.http://blog.pe.com/schools/2013/01/13/schools-educators- push-extracurricular-activities/

Hancock, Donna, Dyk, Patricia Hyger, Jones, Kenneth. Adolescent Involvement in Extracurricular Activities: Influences on Leadership Skills. Journal Of Leadership Education. 2012.http://www.leadershipeducators.org/Resources/Documents/jole/ 2012_Winter/Hancock%20Hyjer%20and%20Jones.pdf

OECD Publishing. 4 pp. Are Students More Engaged When Schools Offer Extracurricular Activities? PISA in Focus. No. 18. 2012. http://0-dx.doi.org.library.pcc.edu/ 10.1787/5k961l4ccczt-en

Fitzgerald, John. School extracurricular activities on the chopping block. 2009 http:// http://www.tcdailyplanet.net/article/2009/03/11/school-extracurricular-activities-chopping- block.html

Author’s note:

I loved this process, Helping kids and finding out that extra curricular activities are really good for kids.



  1. Jay Campuzano

    Hi Italia,

    The topic you wrote about is great! The idea that extracurricular activities are cut from schools is awful. Children need these things to build their social skills and are vital to help them become healthy well-rounded kids. You are a caring individual. It shows in the emotionally written letter you wrote to Senator Jackie Dingfelder.

    There wasn’t much to look for as far as improvements, except some minor grammatical errors. Your writing is strong and to the point. Good job on the letter. I like the fact that you are considering to continue your volunteer work with the school.

    Jay Campuzano

  2. Aimee

    This is something that is so important. So many schools are getting down to the basics due to budget cuts. What they don’t realize is that those “extras” are what keeps kids in school. Without some of those activities to go to, many kids will wonder if it is worth it. But if we keep those activities we might just be able to get kids educated so they can become productive members of society.

    I like how you talked about what those extracurricular activities can teach kids. Kids learn things like how to work together and good sportsmanship. It can also teach them dedication and how to take a loss. These are important life skills that will be important in the future.

    Thanks for getting this out to important people. Hopefully people will read this and we can start working on changing things for a better future.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: