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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

More than 70 kids brave heat at Kelly Miller soccer camp


Written by Colin Patch
Digital Media Intern

If you had to guess, what would you expect a bunch of third- to eighth-graders to be doing on one of the hottest and steamiest afternoons of the summer?

a) Enjoying a cold lemonade in the shade
b) Bathing in a local pool or friend’s sprinkler
c) Playing video games in front of a fan or air conditioner
d) Outside playing 5 hours of soccer with friends

Believe it or not, more than 70 young students from the DC area beat the odds and made their way to DC SCORES’ Summer SCORES soccer camp at Kelly Miller Middle School this past week.


Sweat-drenched T-shirts and frequent water breaks were the theme for the first part of the week as temperatures reached the mid 90’s, but the heat wave proved no match for the little warriors who continued to come out and even completed the more technical aspect of camp – drills which included dribbling, passing and heading exercises – during the hottest stretch.

Mid-week cooler temperatures weren’t the only reward for campers’ hard work. Wednesday brought a large donation of soccer cleats provided by local partner Leveling the Playing Field, which allowed each camper to find their own new pair to keep.

Each camper received a pair of cleats thanks
to a donation from Leveling the Playing Field
Smiles were ignited as kids dug through the containers looking for their right size – or the most trendy and stylish pair.

After everyone was satisfied with their pick, the teams got back on the field to show off both their skills and their new studs in the game-oriented second half of camp. Some exhilarating matches took place between the boys and girls in the older groups, while the youngest group enjoyed some hotly contested games of every kid’s favorite shooting game: Power Finesse.

Another highlight was when campers formed their own teams and had the opportunity to face the staff in the annual Staff vs. Campers game. Despite a slew of good matches – and laughs – the campers were unable to defeat their older rivals. The challenge remains for next year.

To culminate such a successful first week of Summer SCORES, the a large group from Mintz Levin – a charitable partner and friend of DC SCORES – came out to play and help out with the camp-culminating barbecue Friday. Some Mintz Levin employees not only joined the kids, but surprised them with their talents in scrimmages and kickball games, while others took a more stationary – but very important -- role behind the grill and serving food.

A large group of energized employees from DC SCORES partner Mintz Levin came to the camp-culminating BBQ!
Now, with the first week wrapped up at Kelly Miller, the five-week Arts & Soccer Camp at Marie Reed is already under way, keeping kids engaged both physically and mentally during the critical summer months.

Thanks again to our incredibly dedicated and always-handy volunteers, especially the huge and engaged group from Mintz Levin. Special thanks are also owed to Kelly Miller Middle School for hosting us – the impact we strive to make wouldn’t be possible without your help!

Monday, June 22, 2015

2015 DC SCORES Cup a great success!



When all the SCORES Cup teams gathered on the sliver of turf in between fields 5 and 6 Saturday afternoon, one could have confused them for DC SCORES teams. 

There stood members of 32 teams, each group of 15-plus participants wearing a different colored customized T-shirt with their company's logo emblazoned on the back. It was no easy task fitting everyone in the picture; neither was winning the SCORES Cup.

At the end of a cloudy-turned-sunny day at the Maryland SoccerPlex -- which hosted the event for the sixth consecutive year -- Marriott International in the competitive division and Capital for Children in the casual division emerged victorious, but there were no losers on this Saturday.

Just by entering a team and playing in the DC area's largest charity soccer tournament, the 500-plus participants assisted in raising more than $120,000 for DC SCORES -- an amount that equals a full year of programming at five schools in the District.

That's an incredible impact. 

Not only did participants play at least five -- and up to seven -- games on the SoccerPlex's pristine fields, they also learned about the cause during a short break in the action. DC SCORES alumnus Christian get everyone engaged and pumped up with a "DC" "SCORES" call-and-respond chant, and Executive Director Bethany Rubin Henderson gave an overview of the impact those supporting the cause were making. 

After a stirring testimonial from longtime volunteer and coach Simon Landau, board member and Sport and Spine Rehab doctor Barton Bishop wrapped up the presentation by letting everyone know how to get involved.

One way was by entering a raffle at the tournament, which included awesome prize packages including tickets to sit in the owner's box at a D.C. United game and a VIP pass for on-field and locker room access at a game. We owe a huge thanks to D.C. United, which came out to the SoccerPlex and brought along the always-popular-with-any-crowd Talon the mascot.


The day also wouldn't have been possible without aforementioned Sport and Spine Rehab; Whole Foods Market P Street, which donated hundreds of apples, bananas, granola bars and refreshing lemonade; DrinkMore Water, which provided 40 jugs of hydration; Geppetto Catering, which supplied the healthy lunch wraps needed to fuel up for the final games; and a group of hardy and dedicated volunteers.

Thanks so much to everyone who helped make the 13th DC SCORES Cup the best yet; bookmark your calendar for June 2016 and the 14th edition!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Do More 24 2015: The gift of a uniform!



Give a soccer uniform on Do More 24!

How did you feel when you put on a sports uniform for the first time? When you got to represent your school with a a shirt bearing your very own number?

Excited.

Proud.

Like you belonged.

These -- and many more emotions -- are all right answers and they're the feeling kids in DC SCORES get to experience each year. Every poet-athlete in our program, all 1,500 of them, receives a soccer uniform -- a jersey, shorts, socks and shinguards -- upon beginning DC SCORES. They become part of a team.

Unfortunately, there are hundred of kids in DC who lack a team -- who haven't experienced the feelings expressed by the kids in the video above. This is where you come in.

Tweet: I support @DCSCORES. Do you? Give the gift of a soccer uniform w/a $24 donation on #DoMore24! http://bit.ly/DoMoreForDCYouth Thursday, June 4, 2015, is Do More 24, a one-day giveathon celebrating nonprofits in the greater DC area. Our goal is to provide uniforms for 500 DC kids currently without a team. Can you help us reach our goal by making a donation of a uniform ($24) or more?

1) Go HERE between 12am-11:59pm on June 4 to join our effort.

2) Then share your gift and tag friends and family, asking them to do the same. This is easy to do on social media. We've even created a Tweet you can use; just click HERE. Or share our Facebook post with your own customized message.

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Because we understand the impact each and every donor is making by providing a uniform, throughout the day we will keep a running list below of High Fives -- we LOVE high fives at DC SCORES -- for those who give. We hope your name makes the list!

THANK YOU!

The DC SCORES team

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#DoMore24 soccer uniforms provided: 357

DC SCORES High Fives list, time given
Shanaz Chowdhury, 11:57pm
Anonymous, 11:06pm
Liselot Koenen, 10:41pm
Melissa Kambouris, 10:25pm
Alen Allen, 10:03pm
Launa Hochstetler, 9:58pm
Anonymous, 9:58pm
Kenny Owens, 9:52pm
Aya Takeuchi, 9:42pm
Disna Cleland-Boyle, 9:37pm
William Dennis, 9:37pm
Mark Lewis, 9:34pm
Leah Hochstetler, 9:31pm
Elizabeth Wendel, 9:29pm
Stephanie Wolfram, 9:13pm
Anonymous, 9:04pm
Addie Thompson, 8:52pm
Brian Bouhl, 8:47pm
Tim Protle, 8:39pm
Anonymous, 8:32pm
Scott Lesmes, 8:29pm
Holly O'Donnell, 8:22pm
Joshua Orrego, 8:20pm
Zakaria Sherbiny, 7:53pm
Heidi Hochstetler, 7:48pm
Allison Brown, 7:35pm
Santano Rosario, 7:03pm
Anonymous, 7:02pm
Ellen Jimenez, 7:01pm
Chrystal Puryear, 6:50pm
Jonathan Judge-Russo, 6:20pm
Karen Lloyd, 6:14pm
Michael Mack, 6:10pm
L. Coley, 6pm
Joseph Santiesteban, 5:59pm
Kara Dunford, 5:55pm
Kelli Davis, 5:55pm
Andrea and John Murino, 5:52pm
Amy and Fred Rubin, 5:51pm
Kenny Shin, 5:46pm
Mark Hazan, 5:36pm
Jeb Burch, 5:33pm
Susan Gomes, 5:25pm
Judith Goodman, 5:08pm
Sebastiao & Roseli Fonseca, 5:05pm
Fonseca Family, 5:04pm
Christina Brown, 5:03pm
Rachel Klepper, 5:03pm
Tayla Bock, 4:57pm
Keiko Yoshino, 4:57pm
Jacqueline Kemp, 4:54pm
Anthony Francavilla, 4:54pm
Nytasha Garland, 4:48pm
Sean Hinkle, 4:48pm
Nancy Clements, 4:47pm
Joni Hirsch, 4:36pm
Greta Poku, 4:35pm
Gillian Parrish, 4:32pm
Jamilah Matthews, 4:26pm
Paul Jackson, 4:25pm
Maritza Carnegie, 4:24pm
Jamie Goldfarb, 4:24pm
Marisa Deline, 4:18pm
Jill Dowell, 4:09pm
Darryl Clay, 3:58pm
Tammy Whyte, 3:51pm
Lauren Bogard, 3:50pm
Tyler Andrus, 3:47pm
Christabelle Gipson, 3:44pm
Allison Frick, 3:44pm
Mary Ryan, 3:41pm
Nancy Kemp, 3:39pm
Christina Velt, 3:32pm
Anthony Brown, 3:29pm
Brian Yi, 3:27pm
Mike Rocco, 3:18pm
Christina Lewis,2:50pm
Steve Goodman, 2:45pm
Jackie Solano, 2:01pm
Emily Thompson, 1:53pm
Pena Madridista, 1:40pm
John Mcknight, 1:39pm
Hannah Estifanos, 1:39pm
Lyndsey Miller-Vierra, 1:37pm
Pierce Brix, 1:37pm
Ryan Kelley, 1:08pm
Sherry Persaud, 12:52pm
Taylor Brown, 12:51pm
Amanda Potter, 12:17pm
Robert & Patricia Watkins, 12:08pm
Emily Schulman, 12:08pm
Cheryl Gregory, 12:02pm
Jo Ousterhout, 12:00pm
Tim & Kathy Hinkle, 11:43am
Mathew Stafford, 11:32am
Emily Gottschalk, 11:18am
John Pellegrini, 11:11am
Lauren Orzechowski, 11:01am
Douglas Vollmayer, 10:48am
Sidney Williams, 10:48am
Kristopher Rengert, 10:43am
Andrea DiMaria, 10:24am
Catherine Heron, 10:23am
Eli & Vesta Hochstetler, 10:22am
Tracey Rutnik, 10:21am
Danielle Rutnik, 10:17am
Stephen Ressler, 10:14am
Marissa Piette, 10:03am
Ayan & Mike Rubin, 10:02am
Christopher Berg, 9:56am
Lauren Cummings, 9:53am
Paul John, 9:50am
Molly Oellerich, 9:49am
Daniel Henderson, 9:47am
Ronald Buch, 9:44am
Kathleen Kiernan, 9:42am
Gwendolyn Vinson, 9:38am
Alex Bearman, 9:38am
Ronya Corey, 9:35am
Stephen Replogle, 9:31am
Donald Hill, 9:29am
Lily Goldstein, 9:28am
Andrew Gaeckle, 9:28am
Anne H Woodworth, 9:24am
Marissa Mcbride, 9:09am
Hirsh Kravitz, 8:59am
MaryBeth Sullivan, 8:59am
Liz Martone, 8:58am
Adam Rubinfield, 8:54am
Anthony Francavilla, 8:53am
Jessica Searing, 8:51am
Mary Amorosino, 8:45am
Betty Schulman, 8:38am
Grant Czubinski, 8:38am
Edward Lovitch, 8:35am
David Crespo, 8:35am
Amy Wrona, 8:23am
Jake Lloyd, 8:18am
Daniel Meloy, 8:05am
Alice Speck, 8:04am
Amy Nakamoto, 8:04am
Bethany Rubin Henderson, 8:04am
Chris Richardson, 8:04am
Karen Lovitch, 8:03am
Julie Rogers, 8:03am
Kelly Dragelin, 8;02am
Andrea Custis, 8:02am
John Guinan, 8:01am
Katrina Owens, 8:01am
Jessica Trevelyan, 8am
Stuart Trevelyan, 8am
Paul Jackson, 8am
Jack Reagan, 7:11am
Danica Keefe, 5:32am
Mary and Terry Fairbanks, 6:18am
Jake Lloyd, 12:07am
Anonymous, 12:13am

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Creating change at Truesdell EC, part VIII: Reflecting on success



During the DC SCORES spring season, each of our 44 teams go through a four-step service-learning process that involves A) Identifying problems that need addressing in their community; B) Researching one issue; C) Implementing a project to make a difference in the community; and D) Reflecting on the impact they made.

This spring, DC SCORES intern Kristen Miano is following the Truesdell Education Campus (elementary school) Trojans as they go through the service-learning process. Read below and watch each week’s video to learn how DC SCORES empowers youth to create change around them. You can also view photos from Truesdell HERE and follow Kristen's Tweets HERE.

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Written by Kristen Miano
Digital Media Intern

The winner of the Truesdell Trojans “DC SCORES: Pick it Up!” trash cleanup competition was the third-grade class. The team kicked off their final lesson of the season delivering the prizes and goody bags to the third-grade classrooms before settling back in to reflect on all they had accomplished this spring.

“We picked up all the trash in the school and cleaned up the bathrooms,” said Kerwin V., age 10. “By picking up the trash, we made the school better.”

Kerwin’s sentiments were echoed by nearly all the students, who felt they had created real change at Truesdell by putting up posters and encouraging other students to pick up after themselves.

“I learned that it’s fun to pick up trash and that we can ask other people to help improve our community,” said Daniela P., age 9.

With such success from their service-learning project, the Trojans took the time to discuss not only what they learned this season but also what some of their favorite parts of the spring were.

“I liked when (janitor) Ms. Duckett came in and gave her presentation,” Daniela said.

Yocelyn M., age 10, said that her favorite memory was when everyone worked together to assemble prizes..

“I learned that it’s really important to start cleaning because it’s very important to take care of our school,” Yocelyn said.

The team spent their last day together answering reflection questions to help prompt discussion, and decorating the poster board they proudly displayed at the DC SCORES Jamboree! to show the other schools what their project was.

Overall, the Trojans put in a lot of hard work and effort into their project. They learned how to research a topic, make a plan and work together as a group to accomplish their goals. Their efforts not only taught them how to develop an action plan, but also left their school a cleaner and brighter place for everyone.

Monday, June 1, 2015

20th DC SCORES Jamboree! wraps up action-packed season!

View the Jamboree! photo album on Flickr!

Nijah Armstrong witnessed a Jamboree! like she'd never seen before Saturday at Anacostia Park.

Nijah, now a senior at North Carolina A&T State University, last experienced the spring-culminating event as a Kelly Miller student in the mid-2000s. Back then, the Jamboree! was held at Trinity University.

Now, it's gotten so big, only places such as the large expanse of grass at Anacostia Park can contain it.

Nijah was one of dozens of DC SCORES alumni who came by or volunteered at Saturday's event to celebrate the spring season. She witnessed  156 soccer games and nonstop activity -- facepainting, relay races, arts and crafts, the presentation of 44 service-learning posters, DJ RBI spinning music all day, and more.

If you experienced every aspect of the Jamboree!, you covered some serious miles.

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After two and a half hours of setup, the day began a little after 8am with the City Cup elementary school championship games. The boys game featured Aiton and Capital City; the girls featured Seaton and Moten.

Upon the completion of the games, emcee extraordinaire Charity Blackwell brought all the schools together for a cheer -- it got loud! -- before everyone dispersed.

Soon, a grassy area the size of at least four football fields was covered with kids in their DC SCORES uniforms. Let the action begin.

Fourteen -- yes, 14! -- soccer games took place at a time. There were eight elementary games ongoing while middle school boys, girls and co-ed tournament games were played nonstop, one right after the other. This wouldn't have been possible if not for the tireless volunteer referees who oversaw dozens of games throughout the day.

When kids weren't playing soccer, they headed to the shade of the field's perimeter where they partook in a wealth of activities.

Volunteers from some tremendous DC SCORES partners -- Clark Construction, AmeriHealth, Hogan Lovells US LLP, Accenture, Pyxera Global, Edmund Burke School, DC Bocce and others -- did everything from facepainting ("Messi" is always a popular request) to running relay races, to dancing with the kids (there's always plenty to learn there!) to helping serve delicious and healthy Revolution Foods lunches!

Before their next game, kids headed to the Penya Barcelonista shooting skills net where they worked on their kicking accuracy with our amazing longtime partners from the fan club. They then visited D.C. United mascot Talon for some last-minute advice before getting loose with dancing, entertaining "Topspin," the mascot of the Washington Kastles tennis team!

Of course, it was hot and it was humid, so this marathon of activity wouldn't have been possible without water. Lots and lots of water. This was made possible by an extremely generous donation of 70 water jugs from DrinkMore Water.

And when there was the infrequent injury or cramp, Sport and Spine Rehab was on hand to take care of those in need.


A video posted by DC SCORES (@dc_scores) on

Soccer was the favorite activity of the day, but it didn't overwhelm the other aspects of the spring season that were celebrated. A casual look at the service-learning posters demonstrated the incredible impact DC SCORES teams made in their communities this spring.

H.D. Cooke and Barnard won the elementary school service-learning contest. H.D. Cooke's students ran a successful anti-bullying campaign in their school and on Saturday explained to staff members and volunteers, step by step, how exactly they did it. Barnard closely followed the four-part service-learning process -- discovery, research, implementation and reflection -- to orchestrate a highly successful trash cleanup of their school.

Chavez Prep won the middle school service-learning prize for a project that hopefully yields future results. They spent the spring advocating for a soccer field at Bruce Monroe Park near their school. As evidenced by their skills on the field -- where the girls barely lost the championship game to Lincoln -- a new or improved green space would only help them to grow.

But really, growth was on display all day Saturday. From the opening whistle of the City Cup games to the final penalty kick of the middle school games around 2:45pm, kids demonstrated just how much they've improved on the soccer field and as teammates and leaders during the DC SCORES year.

And they -- and family members, volunteers and partners -- had loads of fun, too.

Thank you to everyone who made the 20th DC SCORES Jamboree! a raging success!

Friday, May 22, 2015

DC SCORES coach's journal, part VIII: Lessons learned from a year of SCORES


Zachary Gomes moved to Washington, DC, last August from Albany, NY, to begin working at DC SCORES as a Coach Across America AmeriCorps volunteer. Zach has a passion for working with youth, and as part of his time with DC SCORES is coaching poetry, service-learning and girls soccer at Lincoln Middle School. Throughout the year Zach will share his experiences, providing insight on the impact of DC SCORES -- through the eyes of a coach.

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Written by Zachary Gomes
Soccer Coordinator

The last game of the spring season is today against the 2014 DC SCORES Capital Cup champions from Raymond Education Campus. It will certainly be a challenge, but the girls have grown so much and I know it will be a great game.

Watching the girls develop as a team over the past year has really been a joy. Things certainly aren’t perfect and there is always room for improvement, but isn’t that the case with everything? That’s one of the great lessons playing on a team can teach — keep working hard, keep improving, keep learning because there are a lot of other individuals and teams out there working just as hard or harder than you.

As a unit the team is stronger than ever. Win or lose, the team is understanding more and more that it is the support of their teammates — through the good and the bad — that is really what makes a team so special.

The eighth-graders have stepped up and taken leadership roles. The older girls lead the stretches, run the drills, invent new drills, suggest new lineups and give the team talks before and after games. They are enjoying every moment of their last season as DC SCORES poet-athletes.

Jossellyn A., who has been a DC SCORES student since the fifth grade at Marie Reed Elementary School and is one of the team captains, is already getting a bit emotional about the end of the season. DC SCORES has been a part of her life for the past four years and clearly means a lot to her. She wants to end the season on a positive note and so does the rest of the squad.

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My first ever DC SCORES game day as a coach at Lincoln was last September. We played E.L. Haynes and we lost 6 to 0. Last Friday we got a chance to play them again and we looked like a completely different team.

E.L. Haynes has a great team, and 5 minutes into the game one of their forwards ripped a shot from outside of the box to put them up by a goal. This would be a test for the girls. How would they react to being down a goal so early in the contest? Would frustration get to them or would they respond as a team and keep going strong?

I reminded them from the sideline that there was a lot of time left in the game, but they looked at me with faces that read ‘we already know that coach.’ They were not going to give up or get down on one another. They rebounded and rebounded fast. Noelia A., a seventh-grader whose skills have continued to get stronger throughout the season (her first season ever playing!), scored a goal 2 minutes later to tie things up.

A couple of minutes later, Jossellyn caught a hold of a ball that was rattling around in the box. She volleyed the ball out of the air and slammed it into the back of the net. It was a pretty goal. We ended up winning the game 5 to 2. It was a well-played game on both sides.

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Our service-learning project has continued to move along. And although the kids have hit a few road blocks while planning for their Community/Family day, they are still going to make it happen.

As the team began organizing the special day for their families and friends, it became clear to me that they just thought they were planning a party. Coach Popsie and I decided to have the team take a step back from the planning process and re-evaluate why they were planning the day in the first place.

This sparked a lot of interesting conversation over what family means, why family is important and how family and friends can help an individual succeed.

The kids strongly rejected the traditional definition of family — “a group consisting of parents and children living together in a household. A group of people related to one another by blood or marriage.”

Instead they defined family as a “group of people who share a bond and are connected because of experience, values, emotions, culture and a love for one another. They do not need to be related by blood.”

In the end, the kids figured out the main concept of the day by accident. In an invitation letter addressed to their parents and friends, the kids wrote, “Modern technology keeps us from communicating with our families a lot.”

We began to read articles and talk about the negative and positive effects of technology — how technology has affected the concept of family dinner and the socialization process. It was pretty interesting stuff.

The kids have decided that the Family/Community day will focus on spreading the message that quality family time without the distraction of technology is important to create meaningful relationships. We might even ban phones from the event … or for at least a portion of it. We’ll see if it happens. I have faith it will.

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Stay tuned for my final blog about the service-learning project and a recap of the May 30 Jamboree!.