Mission & History


DC SCORES creates neighborhood teams that give kids the confidence and skills to succeed on the playing field, in the classroom, and in life.


We envision a DC where every child – no matter their family income – experiences the joys of childhood: sports, arts, service, and being part of a team. Where every child – no matter their family circumstances – is empowered to find academic success and grow into an emotionally and physically healthy teen and adult. Where every neighborhood supports and celebrates its children and their accomplishments on and off the playing field.


  1. 1994

    Founded by teacher Julie Kennedy at Marie Reed Elementary School.

  2. 1998

    Hold first citywide youth Poetry Slam!

  3. 1999

    Program model is replicated and America SCORES is founded, now serving low-income kids in 13 cities.

  4. 2005

    Program reach extends to 20 schools throughout the District.

  5. 2007

    Middle school program begins.

  6. 2009

    Selected by the Catalogue for Philanthropy as “one of the best small charities in the Washington, DC region” for 2009-2010. Chosen again when next eligible in 2013 and again in 2017.

  7. 2010

    Included in a Harvard Family Research Project and Private/Public Ventures study highlighting key strategies to promote out-of-school-time program participation among older kids.

  8. 2012-13

    Grow from serving 800 kids to 1,450 through Social Innovation Fund/U.S. Soccer Foundation partnership.

  9. 2015

    Continue growth by consolidating with D.C. United “United Soccer Club,” becoming the official community partner of the Major League soccer team.

  10. 2018

    Serve more than 2,800 kids in Washington, DC. Have a waiting list of more than 20 schools.

  11. 2020

    DC SCORES becomes an official community partner of the Washington Spirit.

  12. 2023

    Clint Smith receives the inaugural Poet-Athlete Award at Our Words Our City.

Julie Kennedy, a former teacher at Marie Reed Learning Center, invented this complementary combination of activities in 1994 when she began working with a group of 15 girls with little to do after school. Ms. Kennedy learned that the team-centered relationships built on the soccer field translated into poetry workshops, and the development of teamwork and leadership prepared students to act as agents of change in their communities through service-learning projects.

America SCORES

The program quickly expanded throughout DC, and in 1999 Kennedy began sites in Boston and Chicago, thus creating America SCORES, headquarters to 12 programs across the United States and Canada: Bay Area, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, New York, Portland, St. Louis, Seattle, Vancouver, and Washington, DC.