Written by Amy Nakamoto
Never before in this country has the focus on childhood health, nutrition, and physical activity been more paramount than it is now. Two-thirds of adults and one-third of children are classified as overweight or obese. School meal policy changes are being enacted; urban planning around parks, walkable trails, and farmer's markets are becoming standard; and industry and community stakeholders are tirelessly seeking to change patterns of behavior that have become ingrained in us as a society.
While this notion is supported by numerous research studies, we don't need science to tell us that adopting a physically active lifestyle as a young person increases the likelihood that one will lead a healthy, active adulthood. At DC SCORES, it's fairly straightforward: provide a basic and important element of physical activity — through the game of soccer — to students and school communities who lack the resources to provide this themselves, and make running around, sweating, and having fun while you are doing it the norm.
This year, through a grant from The Social Innovation Fund administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the U.S. Soccer Foundation and DC SCORES will partner to implement the Foundation’s Soccer for Success program three days per week, 24 weeks of the year at 15 new school sites. Because of this partnership, DC SCORES’ physical activity footprint now reaches an unprecedented 42 schools in the District.
We are working with community partners KIPP DC and the Latin American Youth Center (LAYC) to implement the program. Soccer for Success utilizes the world's most popular game to teach everyday coaches how to develop basic soccer skills and nutrition knowledge in students from underserved and urban communities. It's a new and exciting curriculum that will impact over 10,000 students nationwide by the end of the 2012-13 program year. This is a thoughtful and timely evolution of our long-standing relationship with the U.S. Soccer Foundation, which helped found DC and America SCORES in 1994 and 1999, respectively. We are thrilled to be their partner and look forward to a banner year with them.
This material is based upon work supported by the Corporation for National and Community Service under Social Innovation Fund Grant No. IISIHDCOOI. Opinions or points of view expressed in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position of or a position that is endorsed by, the Corporation or the Social Innovation Fund program.