The science is clear. Physical education and youth sports benefit kids in multiple ways. But budget cuts for schools at all levels -- district, state and federal -- are making it increasingly difficult for many students to have a gym class. As the Washington Post reported in May, "The Trump administration would dedicate no money to a fund for student support and academic enrichment that is meant to help schools pay for, among other things, ...  physical education ... "

To bridge the gap, groups such as the LA84 Foundation are trying to tackle the problem. At LA84's annual summit in Los Angeles, which featured prominent speakers including Kerri Walsh Jennings, Julie Foudy, Baron Davis and Janet Evans, various posters delivered the message: "P.E. is a social justice issue." When budgets are slashed and P.E. gets eliminated, the impact is often even bigger on those who are underserved in the first place.

"There are so many studies -- it's not that complicated -- that if they're moving and they're active, then they're doing better in school," Foudy says. "There's less fighting. There's less bullying. In classrooms, there's more order. Teachers are like 'ah, thank you for doing that!' It makes me so sad that that's one of the first things that we see go is physical education or sports programs. Unless, of course, they're super successful. Then you see that they're rewarded with funding. But I want it to be across the board. We should teach kids, whether you're on the varsity team or not, that movement is a great thing in your life."

The LA84 Foundation is a legacy of the 1984 Olympics held in Los Angeles. It was created to makes sports more accessible to kids, particularly those who live in communities with limited resources. The theme at this year's event was The New Era of Youth Sports: Play for All. 

"We need to get kids moving," Walsh Jennings said. "It's a health concern, a wellness concern. And these kids, if P.E. is taken out out of the schools, it affects them for the rest of their lives. The seeds that we plant early on in kids' lives are hugely important because you never know what flower that's going to sprout into. 

"Sports is transformative. I don't care if you're a lifelong athlete or not, if you play sports one season, it's going to change you. You're going to grow. You're going to learn."

Check out the video above for more from Foudy and Walsh Jennings.

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