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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Volunteer spotlight: Kathy Jacquart, soccer referee



DC SCORES has more than 500 volunteers who help make our program possible for 2,200 low-income DC kids. From assistant coaching, to tackling our big events, to providing expert services and advice, to folding newsletters in our office, to reffing weekly soccer games, to taking photos and videos, and much more, our volunteers make a difference in many ways and with varying schedules.

Today we highlight a volunteer, Kathy Jacquart, who has been refereeing soccer games for us since 2010 and loves the interactions she has with the kids each week during the fall and spring seasons. Get to know Kathy below, and if you'd like to referee games this spring, sign up HERE!

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What is your day job?
I work at the National Science Foundation, specifically supporting the National Science Board, which governs and sets policies for the agency. The National Science Foundation is the primary funder of basic scientific, non-health research. We mostly fund university research, but also some STEM K-12 programs as well.

How long have you been volunteering with DC SCORES?
I started reffing games in 2013.

How did you first get involved with DC SCORES?
I think that it was VolunteerMatch online. I just was searching through the opportunities and reached out. I had been overseas doing international development work and wanted to settle back into DC and find somewhere to volunteer.

Do you have a soccer background?
Yeah, I played 4th-9th or 10th grade and in college on intramural teams. My dad coached and all of my siblings played. I wasn’t all that good, but it was my first team sport and I’ve always loved it.

I heard an interesting tidbit about how you get to and from your referee sites -- are you an avid cyclist?
I mostly bike for transportation -- I’ve always biked both recreationally and for transportation. This past year with the metro situation, I started biking to work a few days a week. My boss is an avid cyclist and sold me a really nice bike, which makes the commute much more pleasant. So I am not some hardcore cyclist, but I ride a few days to work and for fun.

How has your time with DC SCORES impacted you?
Well, I don’t usually have a lot of interaction with kids. I don’t have kids myself, and my nieces and nephews don’t live in the area. As I mentioned, my dad coached for many, many years. I didn’t realize the kind of impact that had on him until much later. Inspired by that, I wanted to try to work with kids in some way. I don’t really have enough time to coach, but I wanted to help out somehow.

I really like the elementary kids -- they are so cute! I’ve refereed at some of the same sites for years and have seen them really improve from year to year. They are really sweet kids. It’s so much fun to see them have a good time and watch the coaches interact with them.

"It’s not just about the soccer, but really about sportsmanship and having fun. Even though I am only involved with DC SCORES as a referee, I can just tell and see what a great program it is. Refereeing is a fun opportunity for me to have a little interaction with kids and contribute in a small way to a really great program. I have a great time and feel good about it!"

Do you have a favorite DC SCORES memory?
The biggest thing has been seeing the improvement from season to season. Especially last fall -- a lot of the kids that I remembered from the spring had made remarkable improvements in their skills and understanding of the game.

One specific memory: one game a couple of years ago, there was a a little girl that was really funny, she was a real character. There was a bit of a scuffle on the field, I think someone got pushed. I was trying to get everyone to shake it off and make sure the kids were all okay. I heard the little girl say to her teammate, “When they go low, you go high." I thought that was amazing coming from a young girl -- she really understood the point of being a good sport.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I like to get out and do stuff outside as much as possible. I am on a rowing team at the Capital Rowing Club and I’ve rowed since college. Unfortunately, now I am on a senior weekend program, but there are people of all ages -- we will get back out on the water in a couple of weeks.

I love exploring new places, which is something great about living in DC. There are so many things to see and places to see in DC and in the surrounding area. My husband and I do a lot of exploring and hiking on the weekends.

What is your dream vacation?
I’ve lived overseas for almost 15 years and have done a ton of traveling and been to some really cool places, but really my favorite vacation spot is a little beach in Rhode Island called Briggs Beach. My family has been going there since my grandmother was a little girl, and there is a 25-year waiting list to get a membership. It is so serene and there's something special about it. I go there and just feel the stress melt away. I really would trade any other beautiful vacation spot for this little beach in Rhode Island.

If you had a superpower, what would it be?
You know, my husband is really into Science Fiction and I’m sure he would have an immediate list of his top 10 superpowers. Hmmm. I think that it would be to make sure that everyone is fed. I would want to be able to make sure that no one is going to bed with a hungry tummy.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Spring SCORES means service-learning across Washington, DC

Written By Dahlia Chaudhury 
Communications Intern

Service-learning is a integral part of the DC SCORES curriculum, and we're always excited when spring rolls around and students begin their projects. To kick off the new season we've compiled some of our best service-learning stories and videos to give you an idea of what students will be tackling this spring.

“We don’t just play soccer. We can help other people in our community, too.”

-William P., H.D. Cooke

1. Imagine Hope creates a school garden out of recycled soda bottles



Last spring, Imagine Hope Tolson took advantage of their school-wide recycling program by saving bottles and creating a garden out of them. Students cut the bottles and filled them with soil and flowers to add some greenery to their school which is surrounded by asphalt. They also walked around the community and cleaned up several blocks. Imagine Hope students were joined in service by, among others,  sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade alumni who had stayed connected to the program through coach Jerome Clemons and the Classroom Champions nonprofit that he also ran at the school; Steve Mesler, the head of Classroom Champions, and dozens of Olympic athletes from the Team USA Athletes Advisory Council; James Cole Jr., the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education; and a U.S. Senator, Adrian Smith of Nebraska.

“Literally, you can turn any space or any item possibly into a little green outside garden,” Clemons said.

You can read the full story here.


2. Raymond Education Campus plans a Healthy Living Carnival



In 2014 the Raymond Tigers successfully held a Healthy Living Carnival for their peers. The students split into committees, each of which planned and executed a booth. Committees taught students to work as a team to complete their project. The carnival was a success and students had a great time running their own booths.

You can read the full story here.

3. Truesdell cleans up their school community



The Truesdell Trojans took on cleaning up the trash in their school buildings for their 2015 service project. Like Raymond, they used the committee method to approach their project. They also made their project into a school-wide competition by offering a prize to whichever class picked up the most trash in their hallway.

There is an entire blog/video series on Truesdell's project. Check it out here.

4. Thomson addresses hunger in their community



Thomson Elementary School students used the research portion of service-learning to find out about hunger in Washington D.C. When they realized that 1 in 3 kids in D.C. doesn't have enough food, they decided to try and help solve this problem. Students created bags of trail mix to donate to D.C. Central Kitchen to give hungry children the right nutrients to help them succeed. They didn't stop there, though. Thomson students also wrote letters to DC councilmembers about the issue.

Read the full story here.

5. H.D. Cooke fights homelessness



H.D. Cooke began its service-learning process by looking at what would be beneficial to their community. Some students wrote down trash, while others saw homelessness as an issue plaguing their community. The Bulls visited Martha's Table to learn more about their issue and to get ideas on how they could tackle it. The students were able to reflect on the experience after, and many felt empowered by being able to help people.

6. Lincoln Middle School cleans the Anacostia River



Watch this major throwback video from 2011 of Lincoln Middle School's service-learning project to clean the Anacostia River. Students created a campaign to spread awareness about how dirty the river was and then took action to address the problem.

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At the end of the spring season as part of the reflection phase of service-learning, students create a poster to be displayed at Jamboree! that shows their service project. These are just a few examples of the awesome posters.





Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Celebrating International Women's Day with DC SCORES stories

Written by Dahlia Chaudhury 
Communications Intern

In honor of International Women's Day, we're sharing some of our favorite stories and poems from an incredible group of DC SCORES young women. These are just a handful of the thousands of girls who find their voices, their power, and their sense of belonging through DC SCORES.

1. Alumna Ingrid Melendez



Ingrid Melendez was a DC SCORES student at Tubman Elementary School and Lincoln Middle School. She met some of her best friends playing at Lincoln as well as a coach, Asa, who served as a mentor and life coach during Ingrid's most difficult years. After aging out of DC SCORES, Ingrid stayed involved and worked for four consecutive summers at Marie Reed Elementary as a Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) counselor. After overcoming great obstacles during her high school years, Ingrid headed to college in the fall of 2015 -- the first from her family to attend college. Through all of her hardship, Ingrid found an outlet in playing soccer. On her time as a summer coach: “I always tell them it doesn’t matter if you’re a girl,” Ingrid said. “A girl can do anything a guy can do.”

Read Ingrid's inspiring story here.

2. A poem by Delaney B.
Kelly Miller Middle School poet-athlete, 11 years old

"Yes, I understand that I may have some ups and downs, but all people do/ But the fact that I'm black and I'm a girl makes it even harder too. These are the things you don't know about me/ I'm smart, intelligent, wise, strong and also pretty"


3. Alumna Claudia Umaña

Claudia Umaña participated in DC SCORES at Bancroft Elementary School. With her mother working to support the family, Claudia was tasked with taking care of her younger brother, and so encouraged him to join SCORES as well. Claudia went on to play soccer in high school, and became not only the first high school, but also college graduate in her family. Her brother followed in her footsteps as well. Claudia went on to work for the nonprofit Women's Policy to create opportunities for women and girls in sports and other areas. “I take a great amount of pride because that means these girls are being active but also being treated equally and taking advantage of sports in general that maybe before —even before my generation — (they) could not,” Claudia said recently.

Read Claudia's full story here.



4. Nohemy S. speaks on Capitol Hill


DC SCORES poet-athlete Nohemy, who participated in the Soccer for Success program at Chavez Prep Charter School, spoke in 2015 alongside professional athletes and members of Congress on Capitol Hill at the "How Sports Can Improve Girls' Health" briefing about her experience playing soccer and being on a team through SCORES.

"The biggest thing that I have learned from playing soccer is to feel confident in myself," Nohemy said. 

Watch her whole testimony here.

5. Arnye Y.'s poem at the 2016 Poetry Slam!


"I am a powerful young woman who raises my hand to speak/ I should be treated like who I am, and should always be offered a seat/ They say 'man down' but what about 'woman down?'/ They say 'man up' but what about 'woman up?'/ There has never been a woman president, that's what I see"

-- Arnye' Y., 10 years old
Thomas Elementary School

6. Alumna Nijah Armstrong


Nijah Armstrong scored a goal in her first DC SCORES game with the Burrville Eagles. After playing for one year with the Tigers, Nijah played for a year at Kelly Miller Middle School, though she never forgot her time at Burrville. Nijah went on to graduate high school and attend North Carolina A&T State, where she double majored in forensic science and psychology. She hasn’t played much since that year, but Nijah carried the lessons instilled in her by the Burrville coaches to where she is today. “They taught me never to quit even if it’s tough -- life in general and in sports,” Nijah said.

Read Nijah's story here.

7. Alumna Myiah's poem


As a DC SCORES poet-athlete, Myiah attended Burrville Elementary School. She is now a student at Georgetown University, and performed at the Our Words Our City poetry showcase earlier this year. Myiah embodies the confidence and passion DC SCORES fosters, and thinks that one of the best things in life is working with young minds to create.

8. Alumna Ana Galeas


Ana Galeas joined DC SCORES to play soccer, but in doing so found confidence and a voice that she has used in multiple avenues. After playing for three years in elementary school and in her final year at Lincoln Middle School, Ana kept lasting connections to her team and coach which led to her becoming the assistant coach at Lincoln, as well as a summer camp coach during her high school years. With each year of coaching, Ana’s confidence rose along with others’ trust in her. She became a strong leader and advocate for her team. In May 2015, she spoke on a President’s Council on Fitness panel about her DC SCORES experience, and in 2016 she spoke about the program in front of 150 people at a Brookings Institute event. “Continue to not stop and to never look back,” Ana tells her summer campers. “The more things you’ll do, the more you’ll be happy about yourself.”

Read Ana's story here.

Friday, March 3, 2017

D.C. United breaks ground on Audi Field; DC SCORES performs



Written By Dahlia Chaudhury
Communications Intern

Our hometown team  and DC SCORES partner D.C. United has officially broken ground on their brand-new soccer stadium, Audi Field.


While the list of speakers at Monday's groundbreaking included some DCU stars, it also featured our very own Amidon-Bowen poet-athletes as the afternoon's opening act. The three students, Laura, Daniel, and Martin, performed their poem, "All This and All That I Hear About Soccer," for the large crowd. The poem featured lines such as "Because we use our skills to score goals," "I have fun by supporting my team," and "DC SCORES united as one!" The performance garnered laughs and a thunderous applause from the fans at the event.


DC SCORES Executive Director Bethany Rubin Henderson also spoke to the crowd about the partnership between D.C. United and DC SCORES. Following Bethany, emcee and the voice of D.C. United Dave Johnson took the stage to introduce a plethora of other special guests.

The first speaker was Jason Levien, a Managing Partner of D.C. United. Levien is a long-time DCU fan and spoke to the crowd about how our community has been anxiously awaiting this stadium. Then, talking about how our city can unite around soccer, Levien said, "We're building a house of worship for soccer in this city."

The next speaker was District Mayor Muriel Bowser. She told the attendees about her excitement for the partnership between D.C. United and the community, and how the new stadium would pave the way for jobs and economic opportunity in the area. "World class cities have world class sports teams and facilities," Bowser said. "I wanted to make sure that this team was here to stay with us and that they were going to continue to invest in Washington D.C. and the best fans anywhere in the world."


The list of speakers afterwords was star-studded: Don Garber, the MLS Commissioner; Scott Keogh, Audi of America President; and of course D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen, who talked about what the new field meant to him as a former DCU player.

The audience was excited to hear from D.C. native and D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid, who touched on his experiences as a child going to games in RFK stadium. "I hope Audi Field can give generations of young boys and girls the motivation RFK gave me to go after my dreams," he said.

D.C. Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen also spoke. Allen talked, like the mayor, about how the new field will benefit the community, but gave a specific shoutout to two of our DCS schools, Amidon-Bowen and Jefferson Middle School! 

After all the speakers, it was finally time to officially break ground. The star-studded cast all grabbed their hard hats emblazoned with the D.C. United logo and shovels that read "Audi Field" in red and white. Johnson directed them all to stick their shovels in a trough of dirt that sat in front of them, and then the picture-taking began. 

Going to the ceremony was such a cool experience, and we're all very excited for the 2018 opening of Audi Field. Vamos United!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Coaches gear up for spring season with action-packed, fun Coach Kickoff


Written by Dahlia Chaudhury
Communications Intern

A day full of speakers, service learning, and soccer: Coach Kickoff was a success!

The day began with the almost 90 attendees, volunteers and teachers from varying schools, gathering at MacFarland Middle School. They heard from a guest speaker, Suzanne Greenfield, who is the first director of the Citywide Youth Bullying Prevention Program with the Office of Human Rights. She talked to the coaches about how they can prevent bullying and promote inclusion this season. 

Next, the coaches split into breakout sessions. They could choose between: "Behind the Scenes at DC SCORES" led by Executive Director Bethany Rubin Henderson; "Creating Team Culture" led by Chief of Staff Katrina Owens; "Service-Learning for Soccer Coaches" led by Program Coordinator Hannah Ehlers; "Soccer for Service-Learning Coaches" led by Athletic Director Greg James; and "Using Data to Prove and Improve" led by Director of Monitoring and Evaluation Libby Watkins.



I was able to sit in on the session devoted to data. Libby gave the coaches a rundown into how DC SCORES uses numbers and what is considered data. After she gave her talk, coaches were able to give insights into how they could use the data compiled by staff, such as attendance and physical health records, to improve in their coaching duties. All of the other sessions went just as successfully; after breakouts the coaches headed to lunch!

Pizza was served for lunch, and during the hour coaches worked with the other coaches from their schools to plan for the upcoming season.


Once lunch was over, everyone was split into their specialties: soccer or writing. The soccer coaches began their lesson inside where they learned the basic aspects of practice and games. Then they moved outside for some on-the-field experience. Coaches practiced dribbling, passing, and accuracy. Then, just as the rain slowly started, it was time to scrimmage! Every drill taught to the coaches is one they'll use with kids this spring.

Inside, the service-learning coaches had fun learning activities they can use in their classrooms and in their respective school communities. One activity involved listing the positive and negative aspects of different parts of a school building. Their session was informative as well, and they all came away knowing the essential, four-stage process of DC SCORES service-learning.

The afternoon passed quickly and the day finished with coaches getting new DC SCORES T-shirts to wear around their SCORES communities. The brand continues to grow. What better way to end an awesome Coach Kickoff?!


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

National Girls & Women in Sports Day: An inspiring day with SCORES

Written by Javier Ponce Elizondo
Communications Intern



On February 1, the weather was beautiful — a perfect on which to celebrate National Girls & Women in Sports Day. I was lucky enough to spend the majority of my day at two impactful events highlighting advancements in sports for girls and women. I was also surrounded by dozens of incredibly successful women in sports who served as inspiration for the DC SCORES kids at the events.

First I accompanied coworkers and members of the Women's Sports Foundation at the U.S. Capitol where we were joined by women from different institutions, organizations and schools. I didn’t know what to expect, but then suddenly the celebrities began to arrive, and the event quickly started with the introduction of each talented woman. I was quickly drawn to Phaidra Knight, a U.S. Women’s National Team rugby player who, on staged, couldn’t have looked more strong and sure of herself as she told the packed room about her story in sport. Just a day earlier, Phaidra had visited Barnard Elementary School and told the DC SCORES poet-athletes there what motivated her to be so successful in rugby. Now, many others were hearing it.

The other woman who caught my attention was Joanna Lohman of the Washington Spirit, a fantastic woman with incredible talent who also excels at telling her story in a way that those in the audience could relate to and feel motivated by. This was only our first event with Joanna of the day, as she’d head over to RFK Stadium with us later, too. Co-workers and I were lucky enough to get a photo with the soccer star before leaving the Capitol.

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In the afternoon, we took two groups of children from different schools to be part of a very important, smaller-scale event at RFK. D.C. United and DC SCORES Executive Director Bethany Rubin Henderson had assembled a star cast of women in sports for a special panel. The audience? The middle school girls of Truesdell Education Campus.

With Bethany as the moderator, the women — including Joanna, her coach Denise Reddy of the Spirit, Deborah Larkin of the Women’s Sports Foundation, Maureen Galkin of D.C. United, and Erin Hawksworth, an ABC-7 sports anchor — spoke for over an hour about their experiences in sport. They touched on everything from their roots in sports, to facing challenges and things such as discrimination on the playing field and in their jobs in sports, to what motivates them to succeed. They left the students with not only gift bags and selfies taken with the stars, but helpful advice for the middle schoolers as they continue playing sports.

“I realized I just had to work harder,” said Lohman of being one of the first three women to be cut from the U.S. National Team.

Lohman added: “You are your best self when you have that confidence and you believe in who you are.”

Said Larkin: “We’re in your corner and we want you to have every opportunity.”

Afterward, Truesdell’s poet-athletes felt empowered.

“I feel really inspired, it just like made me want to do what they want to do,” said Truesdell student Nicole G. “I’ve seen that they chase their dreams, and I’m inspired to chase my dreams.”

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En Español

Escrito por Javier Ponce Elizondo
Interno en Comunicaciones

Todo empezó el día primero de febrero, el clima era hermoso y el día pintaba ser emocionante y largo dentro y fuera de la oficina de DC SCORES, todos estaban emocionados y entusiasmados porque el día de hoy era el día nacional de las mujeres deportivas, así que a medio día asistimos a un evento en el capitolio en el cual en realidad se sentía la emoción de todas las mujeres que asistieron al evento al llegar mi equipo y yo nos atendieron de excelencia, nos ofrecieron de lunch unos exquisitos sandwiches y una pasta riquísima, después procedimos a tomar asiento, empezaron a llegar y llegar cada vez más mujeres de diferentes instituciones, organizaciones y escuelas.

De pronto comenzaron a llegar las celebridades y comenzaron a tomar asiento, y en menos de lo que se esperaba el evento comenzó, anunciando a cada una de las mujeres talentosas que estaban sentadas en el presidium, la maestra de ceremonias inicio diciendo su excelente trayectoria dando inicio al motivo del evento, de pronto comienza a llamar a cada una de las mujeres talentosas del presidium a decir su trayectoria y unas palabras al público, las que más llamaron la atención fueron dos mujeres deportistas muy talentosas una era Phaidra Knight una jugadora de Rugby, ella se veía asombrosa, fuerte y segura de sí misma, cuando comenzó a decir su trayectoria, supimos que era una mujer que había pasado por mucho y que su fuerza de voluntad la llevó a estar en donde está hoy en día, la otra mujer que me llamó mucha la atención fue la jugadora nacional de soccer Joanna Lohman una fantástica mujer con un talento increíble! Su confianza y su presentación describirían a una mujer posible de cualquier reto, comenzó a decir su trayectoria también y cada vez que hablaba a todos nos impresionaba, su palabras fueron motivadoras.

Fue un evento digno de su presentación, se concluyeron con algunas preguntas demasiadas importantes como en la cual participo mi compañera en DC SCORES Lindsay, con una pregunta de suma importancia.

El primer evento concluyó en celebrar este día tan importante para todas las mujeres deportistas, que han dado todo por el amor al deporte y han entrenado y trabajado duro para obtener todo lo que tienen pero no solamente eso sino para también impulsar a todas las mujeres a que sean más participativas en el tema deportivo y que sepan que existen grupos, organizaciones, movimientos que apoyan su causa y la importancia de tener mujeres en el deporte.

Pero el día aun no terminaba y quedaba mucho por hacer, así que llevamos a dos grupos de niñas de las diferentes escuelas, para que formaran parte de un evento de suma importancia, nada más y nada menos que en el estadio de DC United, el equipo de soccer de DC, en el cual nos acompañó por segunda vez la directora de la fundación de mujeres deportistas entre otras celebridades, en este segundo evento la situación era más personal con las niñas de Colegio Truesdell Education Campus así que les mencionare algunos de sus comentarios acerca de su experiencia en este evento tan motivacional.

“I feel really inspired, it just like made me want to do what they want to do,” said Truesdell student Nicole G. “I’ve seen that they chase their dreams, and I’m inspired to chase my dreams.”