On Tuesday, Dec. 11, Francesco Amorosino visited the Mayor's Ceremonial Room at the John A. Wilson to receive a reward he wasn't sure he deserved.
Of course, that was just Francesco's innate humility -- instilled in the 17-year-old by his parents, Mary and Roberto, who were on hand to see Francisco celebrated for his volunteerism through DC SCORES.
"I'm just here to represent DC SCORES," Francesco said after having his picture taken with Mayor Vincent Gray. "It's not really my award -- it's for DC SCORES."
As an organization, we couldn't be prouder to be represented by Francesco, who was one of six awardees at the second annual Mayor's Community Service Awards put on by our partner Serve DC. For over a year, Francesco, a senior at the Washington International School, has been an outstanding volunteer soccer referee for DC SCORES.
Francesco, who lived in Rome for 14 years, moved to the District three years ago and lives in Upper Northwest. However, since learning about DC SCORES and volunteering initially at our Jamboree! spring event, he's made a concerted effort to referee soccer games all over the city -- particularly in wards 7 and 8 east of the Anacostia River.
In other words, as far away from his home and familiar surroundings as possible.
"Seeing only one side of DC doesn't give you a complete picture," Francesco said earlier this fall. "I like coming to the east side (of the river) because it helps me get to know a little better the city I live in.
"I also love the passion the kids put into all of their games."
Francesco has gone far and beyond any volunteering hours quota at his school. He has extended himself into communities that he's never visited and has handled with aplomb DC SCORES game days that didn't go as planned.
A couple stand out:
Last spring, Francesco refereed a game at Noyes Education Campus between the Wolfpack and Beers Elementary School. Unfortunately, Noyes' field hadn't been mowed in weeks, leaving the grass extremely high. Francesco did an excellent job of encouraging the elementary school kids -- with grass up to their knees -- to continue playing hard and not get frustrated. Everyone had a great time.
This fall, there was a rare occasion when we didn't have soccer goals at Wheatley Education Campus for their game against Perry Street Prep. Again, Francesco handled the adverse situation calmly, explained to the kids how the game would be played, and took charge of a very successful and enjoyable experience for both schools -- even without goals.
Those are just a pair of game days where Francesco visited a new school without any preconceived notions about the students or the community and represented DC SCORES in the best possible manner. Francesco made sure to interact with students, coaches, parents and community members, and always made the soccer games enjoyable learning experiences for the youth involved.
"I really like meeting the kids," Francesco said a couple months ago. "They're good fun and I like helping them understand a bit about the game."
On Tuesday, Francesco reiterated how much he enjoys being around DC SCORES youth.
"I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the kids," he said, clutching the glass trophy. "It's all for them."
Thank you, Francesco, for your dedication to DC SCORES youth. Your friends at Noyes, Wheatley, and so many other schools throughout the District thank you for making their game day experiences so enjoyable.
Interested in volunteering like Francesco? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.DCSCORES.org.