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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Bonding with the Bears, Part II: Meet the Coaches

Every week this fall we will be visiting the Barnard Bears during poetry sessions and soccer games to document the progress of the Bears. Follow along to see how students develop their writing and soccer skills, and how the team comes together. We will bring you individual poet-athletes' stories in addition to stories about the team as a whole. Follow along our journey with the Bears on Twitter @DCSCORESInterns & Instagram @DC_SCORES.


Written by Elaine Lu
Communications Intern

Last week, we got to meet Ms. Jackson and Ms. Saffar, both teachers at Barnard Elementary. Today, we'll touch base with the other two coaches who work with the Bears.

Hannah Ehlers and Lindsey Sharp are both members of the small, tight-knit DC SCORES staff, which makes coaching even more meaningful to them. While Hannah and Lindsey spend their mornings in the office, they travel to Barnard in the afternoons.

During my time with both coaches, it's evident that this experience is meaningful to them not only because of the difference their making on kids' lives but also because of the impact the kids have on them.

"Coaching gives me an opportunity to share something that I'm personally passionate about with kids who may or may not have access to or knowledge of the sport," Lindsey said. "I also love seeing a player's growth of technique throughout the season and additional interest in not only a new hobby, but a physically active one."

Hannah comes to school on Mondays and Wednesdays for poetry programming, while Lindsey comes on Tuesdays and Fridays for soccer practice and Thursdays for their weekly game, which is almost every student's favorite day of the week.

I was fortunate enough to get to ride on the DC SCORES-provided bus to Barnard's first game, and the energy was through the roof. Keeping the kids in their seats was a struggle because everyone was jumping up and down with excitement. Coach Lindsey taught them a cheer in Spanish that they recited over and over again during the ride: "Vamos los Osos!," each child screamed at the top of his or her lungs.

I could see the light in their eyes. This cheer resonated especially with a few children, who had difficulty speaking or understanding English. For some, this was the first time I had seen them completely in their comfort zone.

Lindsey has a great deal of experience coaching soccer, and she's has found that her favorite thing is "seeing the kids make improvements throughout the season and their excitement when they finally master a specific soccer skill."

Hannah has done an incredible job helping the Bears grow. Each week, I see each poet-athlete become more comfortable writing. Some kids who wouldn't speak a word a couple weeks ago are now the most talkative ones in the classroom. Others, who would hide behind their friends, now are the most eager ones to share what they have created in programming.

"I love coaching poetry because it gives students a creative outlet that they don't always have otherwise," Hannah said. "It gives students the freedom to express themselves -- we talk about how they are feeling and what they love and then they get to write about it in unique ways. I love seeing the work that students create and the progress they make. Their curiosity and creativity never cease to amaze me. "

Coaches Lindsey, Hannah, and Ms. Saffar have all done amazing jobs thus far with the kids. The Barnard Bears couldn't be luckier!

Stay tuned for more to come from the Bears!

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