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Thursday, November 11, 2010

DC SCORES Board members, Leadership Council members write poetry

Last week, members of DC SCORES’ Board of Directors and Leadership Council faced an intellectual test.

Stepping away from their day jobs for an afternoon, they visited the DC SCORES classroom at Tubman Elementary School and promptly were given the assignment of creating poetry alongside Tubman’s poet-athletes.

“I must admit, the poetry writing part of my brain is a little sore today since it hadn’t been exercised in years!” wrote Board Chair Jay Grauberger the day after the visit.

Grauberger was joined by board members Lisa Koteen Gerchick and Chris Finley and Leadership Council members Peter Loge and Don Marshall for the session, which provided them a glimpse of what goes into a regular day of DC SCORES programming.

Cory Chimka, DC SCORES Elementary School Program Director and a former teacher at Tubman, made the afternoon as interactive as possible. The visitors weren’t just there to observe the students; they were there to join them and work alongside them.

They split up, putting an adult at each table with a group of students, and everyone was told to create a “Poetry Is __” poem by filling in the blank with a favorite smell, a favorite place in the world, and so on. After Chimka introduced the topic, a student quickly impressed the adults by saying his favorite sound is the turning of a page in a book.

After everyone had written poems, giving each other feedback and throwing out ideas during the process, the students and visitors engaged in a variation of musical chairs – walking around the room in two concentric circles until the music stopped, at which point they read their poems to the person opposite them. Then they swapped poems before the music began again, allowing for everyone to read and hear several poems.

“I was reminded once again that for those of us who don’t see the program and the kids in action every day, it is so valuable and important to sit in the small chairs and interact one-on-one with the kids,” Grauberger said. “To hear their thoughts, observations and wishes.”

Following the writing session, the group of visitors headed outside to observe the Lincoln Middle School soccer practice, giving them a complete afternoon of DC SCORES programming.

There were no planned performances, no championship soccer games. But the visitors came away impressed and with a renewed sense of understanding as to why they support the 800 students we serve.

“There is nothing like a site visit to make it all real once again and to remind us all why we volunteer on behalf of this great organization,” Grauberger said.

“I know that seeing the program in person and meeting the kids will enable me to speak [even more] from personal experience and, thus, in a much more genuine way about DC SCORES.”

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