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Willing sponsors for kids sports and music programs

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Posted: Saturday, August 18, 2012 9:53 am | Updated: 10:39 am, Sat Aug 18, 2012.

With school in session, now is a good time to sign up for sports and music lessons to keep your child active in the afternoons. But the price tag for ballet class or a season of football can add up quickly. 

Two Lodi nonprofit organizations have tuition assistance programs to help families who have a hard time making ends meet. 

The Lodi Arts Foundation offers help to families with children enrolled in art, music, theater and dance classes through Hutchins Street Square. If a child qualifies for the free or reduced school lunch program, the foundation can fund up to 50 percent of tuition, said Ros Bollinger, leader of the foundation. 

Costumes, instruments and toe shoes are necessary for a recital, so this year the foundation will offer a stipend for these essentials. Recipients will be chosen at the instructor’s discretion, or by those who screen class applications. 

About 20 students currently receive tuition assistance, but the foundation is looking to increase that number, said Bollinger. 

“We’re putting our focus on getting youths involved in the arts; developing an understanding and appreciation for them,” she said. 

The foundation is the financial arm of the Lodi Arts Commission, but is not connected with the city. The foundation pays for tuition assistance with fundraisers throughout the year.

Athletes and sporty kids can also qualify for help. 

Boosters of Boys and Girls Sports (BOBS) can help pay for a season of baseball, basketball or other sports, said director Eddie Long. The organization is volunteer-run, and sponsors sports through fundraisers. 

BOBS sponsors only 25 percent of costs for some students, while others receive the full amount, depending on need. About 60 children are sponsored by BOBS to some degree. 

“While they’re playing sports, they’re under supervised adults, not running around on the streets,” said Long. “If we could double our number of kids playing, we would.”

Contact reporter Sara Jane Pohlman at sarap@lodinews.com. For more information about local education issues, read our Education Café blog.

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