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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Volunteer spotlight: Kathy Jacquart, soccer referee

DC SCORES has more than 500 volunteers who help make our program possible for 2,200 low-income DC kids. From assistant coaching, to tackling our big events, to providing expert services and advice, to folding newsletters in our office, to reffing weekly soccer games, to taking photos and videos, and much more, our volunteers make a difference in many ways and with varying schedules.

Today we highlight a volunteer, Kathy Jacquart, who has been refereeing soccer games for us since 2010 and loves the interactions she has with the kids each week during the fall and spring seasons. Get to know Kathy below, and if you'd like to referee games this spring, sign up HERE!


What is your day job?
I work at the National Science Foundation, specifically supporting the National Science Board, which governs and sets policies for the agency. The National Science Foundation is the primary funder of basic scientific, non-health research. We mostly fund university research, but also some STEM K-12 programs as well.

How long have you been volunteering with DC SCORES?
I started reffing games in 2013.

How did you first get involved with DC SCORES?
I think that it was VolunteerMatch online. I just was searching through the opportunities and reached out. I had been overseas doing international development work and wanted to settle back into DC and find somewhere to volunteer.

Do you have a soccer background?
Yeah, I played 4th-9th or 10th grade and in college on intramural teams. My dad coached and all of my siblings played. I wasn’t all that good, but it was my first team sport and I’ve always loved it.

I heard an interesting tidbit about how you get to and from your referee sites -- are you an avid cyclist?
I mostly bike for transportation -- I’ve always biked both recreationally and for transportation. This past year with the metro situation, I started biking to work a few days a week. My boss is an avid cyclist and sold me a really nice bike, which makes the commute much more pleasant. So I am not some hardcore cyclist, but I ride a few days to work and for fun.

How has your time with DC SCORES impacted you?
Well, I don’t usually have a lot of interaction with kids. I don’t have kids myself, and my nieces and nephews don’t live in the area. As I mentioned, my dad coached for many, many years. I didn’t realize the kind of impact that had on him until much later. Inspired by that, I wanted to try to work with kids in some way. I don’t really have enough time to coach, but I wanted to help out somehow.

I really like the elementary kids -- they are so cute! I’ve refereed at some of the same sites for years and have seen them really improve from year to year. They are really sweet kids. It’s so much fun to see them have a good time and watch the coaches interact with them.

"It’s not just about the soccer, but really about sportsmanship and having fun. Even though I am only involved with DC SCORES as a referee, I can just tell and see what a great program it is. Refereeing is a fun opportunity for me to have a little interaction with kids and contribute in a small way to a really great program. I have a great time and feel good about it!"

Do you have a favorite DC SCORES memory?
The biggest thing has been seeing the improvement from season to season. Especially last fall -- a lot of the kids that I remembered from the spring had made remarkable improvements in their skills and understanding of the game.

One specific memory: one game a couple of years ago, there was a a little girl that was really funny, she was a real character. There was a bit of a scuffle on the field, I think someone got pushed. I was trying to get everyone to shake it off and make sure the kids were all okay. I heard the little girl say to her teammate, “When they go low, you go high." I thought that was amazing coming from a young girl -- she really understood the point of being a good sport.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I like to get out and do stuff outside as much as possible. I am on a rowing team at the Capital Rowing Club and I’ve rowed since college. Unfortunately, now I am on a senior weekend program, but there are people of all ages -- we will get back out on the water in a couple of weeks.

I love exploring new places, which is something great about living in DC. There are so many things to see and places to see in DC and in the surrounding area. My husband and I do a lot of exploring and hiking on the weekends.

What is your dream vacation?
I’ve lived overseas for almost 15 years and have done a ton of traveling and been to some really cool places, but really my favorite vacation spot is a little beach in Rhode Island called Briggs Beach. My family has been going there since my grandmother was a little girl, and there is a 25-year waiting list to get a membership. It is so serene and there's something special about it. I go there and just feel the stress melt away. I really would trade any other beautiful vacation spot for this little beach in Rhode Island.

If you had a superpower, what would it be?
You know, my husband is really into Science Fiction and I’m sure he would have an immediate list of his top 10 superpowers. Hmmm. I think that it would be to make sure that everyone is fed. I would want to be able to make sure that no one is going to bed with a hungry tummy.

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