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Washington Middle School gets $3,000 in new sports equipment

Washington Middle School received a big donation Wednesday.

During an assembly, Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui, along with R.E.A.C.H. (Resources for Enrichment, Athletics, Culture and Health) Out Hawaii in partnership with the National Football League (NFL) Foundation, presented the after-school program with new sports equipment.

The donation included volleyballs, soccer balls and baseball equipment, valued at $3,000.

"This equipment provides them the opportunity to really engage and maybe find a passion that they've been longing for, whether it's soccer or basketball, maybe softball for some of these girls," Tsutsui said.

"Funding for after-school programs are limited," said principal Michael Harano. "The donation of the much needed equipment will enable us to expand the sports program and increase student participation."

R.E.A.C.H. Out Hawaii, the nonprofit arm for R.E.A.C.H., purchased the equipment with a grant it received in 2014 from the NFL Foundation through its Pro Bowl Community grant program. It provides an organizational framework for public middle and intermediate schools to offer expanded learning opportunities during after-school hours.

The initiative's mission is to expand learning opportunities during non-instructional hours to public middle and intermediate school students so they can stay on track toward high school graduation and be better prepared for future success.

Started in March 2013 by Lt. Governor Tsutsui, the R.E.A.C.H. initiative continues to develop and is currently being considered by the State Legislature to become a permanently funded program within the Office of Youth Services.

Twenty schools thus far have benefited from the program since it was launched in 2014.

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