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Monday, December 29, 2014

14 DC SCORES stories from an action-packed 2014

Happy almost-New Year! We can't wait for 2015, a year during which we will: continue to serve 1,500 DC youth year-round; provide more opportunities than ever before for alumni to stay engaged with DC SCORES; and much, much more (this is just a tease).

But before jumping into the year, 2014 is worth celebrating. We'd need a book to fit all the incredible, inspiring stories involving program participants, community members, staff, board and supporters. Instead, we've chosen 14 stories.

Enjoy reliving 2014 and if you haven't yet, consider making a year-end gift to DC SCORES today!

Stories are in chronological order

14. Seven schools participate in winter programming
For most of our 47 schools, winter is a short break from DC SCORES. But each year, we grow our scaled-down winter nutrition and soccer program. In 2014, seven elementary and middle schools participated, learning about healthy eating habits and keeping their soccer skills sharp with multi-school clinics.

13. Students shine at National Poetry SLAM!
DC SCORES standout poets Xavier C. of Arts and Technology Academy and Skky M. of Imagine Hope Community Charter School — Tolsen Campus were chosen to represent DC at the America SCORES National Poetry SLAM! in New York City, and boy did they shine. At the New York Stock Exchange, Xavier and Skky were among 26 young poets from across the country who put together one spectacular performance after another for a captivated audience.

12. A TV star is born 
Xavier's night wasn't over at the Stock Exchange. Immediately after the event, he visited NBC studios where he and America SCORES Executive Director Holly O'Donnell were guests on the live TV show 'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell.' Xavier was a natural as he described his New York experience, and he then captivated the TV audience by reading his poem. Soon after, the TV show's Facebook page lit up with praise for Xavier. Since April, Xavier has performed at a handful of big events in DC, wowing the audience each time.

11. Monsoon can't stop huge turnout for alumni tournament 
No one would have been blamed for not showing up to the alumni soccer tournament in mid-April. Not only was it during spring break, but DC was getting hammered by a legitimate monsoon. Torrents of rain drenched Tubman Elementary School, yet hundreds of program alumni showed their dedication to soccer and former teammates by showing up — and having a good (if wet) time!

10. Incredible coaches, volunteers honored at SCORE Awards
DC SCORES wouldn't be able to build teams for 1,500 youth if the coaches who work every day with the kids didn't build teams themselves. During a poignant night of celebration at LongView Gallery, awards were presented to teams of coaches and individual coaches and volunteers who best represent the teamwork, leadership and commitment that are the core values of DC SCORES programming.

9. The largest event in DC SCORES history
The first staff members arrived at 5:30 a.m. Volunteers came shortly after. And then hundreds upon hundreds of kids, families, community members and more. On May 31 at Anacostia Park, we hosted the largest event in our 20-year history, the 19th Annual Jamboree!. Across a large grassy expanse, 178 soccer games were played during six hours — 178! And there were plenty of other activities, too. Get ready for this year's Jamboree! May 30 — it might be even bigger!

8. 32 companies play in 12th Annual DC SCORES Cup
On June 14, more than 500 DC-area professionals teamed up for the largest DC SCORES Cup to date. Not only did the corporate charity tournament feature a record 32 teams, but for the first time it featured two divisions — Competitive and Casual — and, thus, two champions. And it raised more than $120,000. Sign up for the 2015 Cup by visiting www.DCSCOREScup.org.

7. Bethany Rubin Henderson becomes Executive Director
After an incredibly successful eight years of growth and leadership, Amy Nakamoto moved on and DC SCORES hired Bethany Rubin Henderson to lead the organization and build on all the things accomplished and established.

6. Two special summer camp visits — on the same day! 
DC SCORES provided more summer enrichment and exercise through the arts and soccer than ever before in the form of four free camps. Not only did kids keep their bodies and minds engaged through daily activities, but they enjoyed many field trips and special activities, especially the last week of camp. That's when professional soccer star Javier Zanetti of Inter Milan visited the Bruce Monroe camp to show kids some tricks, and coaches from Manchester United — yes, that club! — gave a soccer clinic to DC SCORES alumni. "It was exciting because they were teaching us stuff that they also teach professional players," Jose Q. said afterward. How cool is that?

5. DC SCORES alumni give back before heading to college
Each summer we're reminded of the impact of DC SCORES on kids' futures and their desire to give back. This year was no different. A large group of alumni worked as DC Summer Youth Employment (SYEP) counselors at camp, including Nana who is now in college but continues to give back to the program by mentoring younger kids.

4. Two visits to the White House
This past fall, DC SCORES visited the grounds of the White House twice! First, kids from Barnard Elementary School were the stars at an event put on by the Social Innovation Fund and U.S. Soccer Foundation. Then, just weeks later, Truesdell Education Campus students got a special treat when they received one-on-one attention from members of MLS champion Sporting K.C. during a clinic on the White House lawn. Both were unforgettable experiences for the kids.

3. Staff member Aaron Cannon wins award
Aaron Cannon was one of a handful of people who joined the DC SCORES staff in August. Just a few months later, Aaron was awarded for his commitment not just to the youth he coaches at Wheatley Education Campus but also the school and greater community when he received a distinguished Mayor's Community Service Award from District mayor Vincent Gray. See all organizational awards here.

2. A tremendous Giving Tuesday
On Dec. 2, we were reminded just how large and amazing the DC SCORES team is when more than $22,000 was raised during Giving Tuesday — far surpassing our goal. Nearly 300 people gave the gift of team during the 24 hours, helping us win the Catalogue For Philanthropy competition for most donors and an additional $5,000. It was the true definition of a team effort.

1. Does it get any better than the Poetry Slam!?
There is no better way to cap off an action-packed DC SCORES season — and year — than with the Poetry Slam!, and this year's 17th edition lived up to the hype. During the two-night event, every school performed original group and solo poems in front of capacity audiences. The event showcased how three months of work in the classroom can transform shy students who don't know what a poem is into confident, spoken word stars. Our blog series on Brightwood Education Campus illustrated this perfectly.

And in just a few months, two more poetry all-stars will head to New York for the America SCORES National SLAM!, just one event in what promises to be another exciting year.


Want to help us make 2015 better than ever for more DC youth in need? Gift the gift of team today as a tax-deductible donation!

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