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Why Ivanka Trump Decided More Kids Should Play Sports

Donald Trump has plans to sign an executive order to try and bolster youth sports participation.

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According to White House advisor Ivanka Trump, the Trump administration will take steps to facilitate an increase in youth sports participation. Trump, in an op-ed for NBC News she wrote after her trip to Pyeongchang for the Winter Olympics, expressed that the administration must “empower each child to reach his or her full potential through sport and play.”

A focus on youth sports development is a departure from Ivanka Trump’s former commitment to providing paid family leave. She hasn’t exactly gotten off the subject of paid family leave, but seems to be aware that making headway in that department will be an uphill battle in Congress. On the other hand, Trump says that her father will soon sign an executive order that gives Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar the means to develop a national strategy meant to increase access to youth sports.

In Trump’s NBC News op-ed, she cited a Cornell University study that found that children who participate in youth sports leagues and play on high school sports teams “make better employees and have better career opportunities than those who didn’t.” Trump also mentioned two studies from the Aspen Institute: The first one supports the idea that kids who play youth sports perform better in school, while the second calculates an eight percent drop-off in the number of American children ages 6 to 12 who played on a sports team between 2008 and 2016. She went on to lament the manner in which many school sports programs have become “pay to play,” meaning parents will often have to shell out as much as $400 per student.

“We believe that every child deserves the chance to play and engage in sports and recreational activities, regardless of their zip code, athletic potential or financial status,” wrote Trump. “We are working to remove barriers to entry so that students can improve their lives and their future outcomes, and so that we adequately prepare the next generation of leaders to lift up our communities and strengthen our nation.”