Virus crisis a challenge for youth fitness nonprofits

CHICAGO (AP) — Mariana Ochoa worries about the effect of the COVID-19 crisis on her three boys. Their school is closed. She can’t take them to their favorite park at the moment. There is no backyard at their home on the southwest side of Chicago.

The fitness routines she gets from Chicago Run are a weekly highlight for Mariano, 9, Victor, 7, and Jesus, 5.

“They forget about all this stuff when we’re doing exercise,” Mariana Ochoa said. “Especially when we do exercise, they go to a different world.”

Nonprofit organizations like Chicago Run have become a key component of communities across the United States in an era of big-budget youth sports, providing fitness opportunities and activities for children from middle- and low-income neighborhoods.

The coronavirus pandemic has put many of those organizations in jeopardy, robbing them of locations for their programs and straining their already limited sources for funding.

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