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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

My first experience as a DC SCORES coach

Written by Javier A. Ponce Elizondo
DC SCORES intern

When I went to Barnard Elementary School with coach Hannah, it was my first time at Barnard and also my first time as a coach in DC SCORES. It was a great experience!

As Hanna started class, the kids were all really interested in what she was saying. She introduced me to all the kids, and they were very surprised to learn that I was Mexican like many of them. They immediately began asking me questions about soccer and soccer players and all that stuff. But then they pivoted, as we all worked together to understand the meaning of a poem presented to the group.

Barnard was still in the first phase of service-learning, which involves examining your school community and what needs to be improved. I was really impressed with how aware the Barnard Bears were of what was around them and the problems in their neighborhood.

There was only so much we could do in the classroom. After a lively question-and-answer session, we move outside to truly examine the school’s surroundings. We started with the cafeteria, then moved to the gym, then outside. The kids walked up and down the sidewalks, jotting observations in their notebooks. Was there trash strewn everywhere? Did certain areas need beautifying? The kids logged it all.

Upon returning to the classroom, the kids raised their hands to let Hannah know what they’d seen. But then we dug deeper. OK, there were issues. But how could they be addressed? How could we create change? As the service-learning session wrapped up, Hannah gave the Barnard poet-athletes a homework assignment — think about a social project and how you would enact it. Obviously the team’s service-learning project will take many more group sessions, but it was a really good start. It was a dynamic, deep and understanding class. I was happy to be a part of it!

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