Concerning the "privileged" kids of CLCF sports programs
To the Editor:
A recent article in the Cranston Herald and the Warwick Beacon dealing with Cranston Mayor Alan Fung’s proposal to accommodate a futbol organization with renovations of Doric Avenue Field led to a widely read Facebook posting that had a very negative reference to Cranston League for Cranston’s Future (CLCF). This Facebook commentary stated that CLCF kids are from “privileged” families. The comment was both inaccurate and inappropriate. We prefer to think that the posting was based on a lack of knowledge and was not a malicious accusation. As the president of CLCF I would like to take this opportunity to correct some of the misconceptions that have been raised.
As an organization CLCF was not part of the discussions concerning the Doric Avenue Field. The article in the news only indicated that CLCF Lacrosse would have access to the fields along with Lacrosse teams and gym classes from Cranston’s High Schools. Nowhere in the mayor’s press release was there any indication that CLCF would have any greater access to the field than any other group requesting use of the field from Parks and Recreation nor was any access to CLCF ever guaranteed.
Addressing the reference to the “privileged kids” from CLCF I can only state the following:
Yes, the kids participating in CLCF programs are privileged insofar as they have the privilege of participating in youth development activities and sports from which many other children do not benefit but through no fault of ours. Fortunately for all children in our community, CLCF does not restrict its programs to any child and, in fact, seeks to accommodate any child regardless of mental, physical or financial hardship. While some programs are, of necessity, designed to be provided for more accomplished athletes, which is the nature of athletic competition, most of our programs do not restrict access to any child who wishes to participate. Indeed, CLCF goes out of its way to provide programs specifically targeting young athletes who do not qualify for our more competitive programs. These programs have open-ended and unrestricted access for all children.
CLCF Sports has never catered to the children of the financially affluent. While fees are charged to participants to pay for the services received (uniforms, equipment, insurance costs, etc.), these fees do not actually cover the benefits received. Many of the costs of participation are paid for through the generosity of individuals and businesses in the community who sponsor teams and programs. Fortunately, through grants from government and private organizations, CLCF receives funds to address the specific needs of children whose families are not capable of contributing the fees set for each program. The Peter T. Pastore, Jr. Foundation, as only one example, contributes thousands of dollars annually specifically requiring that the funds be utilized to cover participation fees for children and families who cannot afford the program costs. This is one of the many ways CLCF makes sure that all of the community’s children remain “privileged.”
CLCF receives no direct financial aid from the City of Cranston other than the use of fields and facilities, both of which are available to any citizen or group which requests such use from Parks and Recreation. In return, the city of Cranston does not have to provide athletic opportunities for the children of the community through the use of tax monies. We do it for them.
Lastly, and most importantly, were it not for the generosity of our coaching personnel and other volunteers who receive no financial compensation for their time and talents no children would be “privileged” to participate in CLCF because CLCF and its sports program would not exist.
While we are aware that the aforementioned proposal by the mayor has been withdrawn it is still significant that the errors implied in the Facebook response to the original article be properly addressed and corrected. Proper credit should be given when proper credit is due.