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Monday, July 18, 2011

Coach profile: Dareese Tolson, C.W. Harris Elementary School

Dareese Tolson, C.W. Harris Elementary School

Writing coach

How long have you been with DC SCORES?

Two years.

What’s your other job within or outside the school?

I am a social worker in Virginia.

How did you get into education or start working with youth?

I am currently working on a Master’s in Special Education. I was referred to DC SCORES by a friend who was coaching and thought I’d enjoy it.

Why did you choose to work for DC SCORES; what attracted you to the program?

It was the combination of poetry and soccer. I love literature. I love reading. And a program that got kids involved in that, too? I had to be a part of it.

Now that you’ve been doing it for a while, what do you enjoy most about it?

Watching the students’ transformation from the beginning of the year, not being that into poetry, and then by the middle they are creating their own performance pieces, practicing, getting really jazzed, and then after the Poetry Slam! they are so proud of themselves.

Why is DC SCORES important to the school and the students it serves?

Well, it’s particularly important at a school like C.W. Harris because there aren’t a lot of resources, and the school and community have a hard time filling the void of after-school programming. Without DC SCORES, my kids aren’t going to get introduced to soccer. They aren’t going to get introduced to poetry. And they aren’t going to get the chance to participate at something like the Inspired Art Gala and perform their poetry at the Corcoran Gallery of Art.

Was there an experience you had growing up that pushed you into education or toward doing a program like DC SCORES? Were you in a similar program?

I was very involved growing up. I grew up in Southeast DC and there wasn’t a lot going on, but my mom had us involved in our church, girl scouts, any program that was available. You know, I kind of have this dream that I can make life better for kids than I had, and I feel like I am doing that by coaching with DC SCORES.

What’s your favorite DC SCORES event & why?

OF COURSE, Poetry Slam! hands down! The kids are so excited. I am so excited. It’s just the best!

What’s your most memorable DC SCORES experience?

This year’s Poetry Slam!, because previously I coached at Bancroft and there is a very different ability level between the two schools. But to see my team be so organized, have a common goal, and be jazzed on poetry and literature was just the best thing ever!

Who is your favorite athlete?

Ronaldo, because the kids love him … and he’s hot. Ha ha ha!

Who is your favorite singer or poet?

Poet: Sandra Cisneros. Singer: Adelle.

What is your favorite food?


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