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Monday, March 11, 2013

DC SCORES spring season kicks off throughout the District

This afternoon when the final bell rings at public and public charter schools throughout Washington, DC, more than 1,450 students will have an organized, safe place to spend the all-important after-school hours.

A DC SCORES classroom and/or soccer field.

Yes, the 19th spring season kicks off today, and with it the opportunity for low-income District youth representing 42 schools to exercise their minds and bodies through soccer and service-learning projects. 

This spring, we welcome one new school -- Drew Elementary in Ward 7, which is participating in our program through a Soccer for Success Social Innovation Fund (SIF) Sub-Grant awarded by the U.S. Soccer Foundation to DC SCORES in partnership with the Latin American Youth Center and KIPP DC

As part of the continuing partnership, which allowed us to expand to 15 schools in the fall, programming is also beginning at KIPP DC: Aim Academy in Ward 8. 

The spring season is a great opportunity to see growth in DC SCORES students, particularly in our impact areas -- self-expression, physical fitness, sense of community and teamwork. The majority of program participants are back on the same team from the fall, wearing the same color T-shirts and with the same teammates. 

Students build on the chemistry and commitment developed during the fall season. This manifests itself in a couple ways:

On the soccer field, kids know how to play with each other. There is a greater trust. There are more passes, more of everyone working in unison toward achieving the same goal (pun intended).

In the classroom and in their communities, students translate that improved teamwork and a sense of empowerment gleaned from their Poetry Slam! performances to creating and implementing service-learning projects to make a difference in the lives of others.

Recent examples of projects included:

  • C.W. Harris students performing a talent show for residents at a senior citizens center. Afterward, one resident remarked that the time spent with the youth had been her favorite day living there. 

  • Cesar Chavez Public Charter Middle School students creating an awareness campaign about depression within their school, including making a video and holding sessions for their fellow students.

  • Many DC SCORES teams beautifying their school grounds by planting gardens and trees, creating a recycling program, and picking up trash.
And much, much more.

Many DC SCORES projects have a lasting impression on not only those who are served but the students making the difference. They realize through the process of brainstorming a plan, doing research on the topic, and then executing the plan that they aren't powerless to better their communities.

And students from low-income communities, who don't grow up with a lot, develop a passion for helping others. We often see this from our alumni students now in high school, who feel compelled to stay connected to DC SCORES by becoming assistant coaches, refereeing games, and helping at events.

"The older youth program is basically giving the kids who are young today -- giving back to the children -- as the coaches gave to us back then," said Jarmar L., who attends Bell Multicultural High School and is an assistant coach at Lincoln Middle School, where he used to be a program participant.

We'd love for you to join the DC SCORES community this spring, whether it's at a soccer game day, as an assistant coach, or at our season-culminating Jamboree! June 1.

Learn more about volunteering here. And check out our soon-to-be-released soccer schedule here.

Happy Opening Day!

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