DC SCORES alumni at the DC Council Roundtable on Education


On Thursday, December 7, two DC SCORES alumni testified during the DC Council Roundtable on Education. Ana Galeas and Christian Allen spoke about their experiences within DCPS schools and the positive impact DC SCORES has had in their lives.

Henderson named a Washington Business Journal ED of the Year

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DC SCORES Executive Director receives distinguished honor at 2017 C-Suite Awards

[Washington, DC] – [December 8, 2017] – DC SCORES Executive Director Bethany Rubin Henderson was named an inaugural Nonprofit Executive Director of the Year by the Washington Business Journal Thursday night, further validating DC SCORES’ position as one of the area’s best nonprofits. Henderson is at the helm of an organization that is changing the way nonprofits do business, and this award is the latest feather in her and DC SCORES’ cap. Earlier this year, DC SCORES won three other awards for nonprofit management – the AIM for Excellence Award (for best-managed nonprofit in the DC-Maryland-Virginia area); the Center for Nonprofit Advancement Board Leadership Award (for best nonprofit Board in the region); and inclusion in the 2017-18 Catalogue for Philanthropy as “one of the best small charities in the Greater Washington region.”

The impact of Giving Tuesday


That’s all there is to say to the 405 individual donors that made a donation to DC SCORES during this year’s Giving Tuesday. Together we reached our goal of raising more than $30,000 to give kids a voice. That’s a FULL YEAR of SCORES for nearly 30 kids!

Fall soccer season provides hundreds of games, practices and exercise


Elementary school soccer photos
Middle school soccer photos
Fall Frenzy photos

Forget the scores.

Sure, kids are almost always bummed out when their team doesn’t win. It’s near impossible to tell a child that winning doesn’t matter. That’s sports. But as the DC SCORES soccer season culminated Tuesday with the Capital Cup middle school championships at Cardozo Education Campus, the most important things weren’t the trophies or the final scores.

Hogan Lovells US LLP brings DC SCORES to Kimball Elementary


Hogan Lovells LLP has been a DC SCORES partner for the better part of two decades. There’s never been a DC SCORES Cup — our corporate charity soccer tournament — without a Hogan team in the field. Every year, the firm’s lawyers, staff, and summer associates volunteer at events, referee games, and even judge poetry slams.

Nothing but bravery and inspiration at 20th Annual Eastside Poetry Slam!


Photo album on FLICKR \ Videos on YouTube\ ICYMI: Westside Slam! recap


It is a word we don’t use that often anymore, but Uniyah C., a 10-year-old, reminded us of it Thursday night.

It is the best thing I know
It helps you stay confident when you’re down and sad.
Bravery helps you to believe in yourself when nobody else will.
Having bravery will not allow yourself to give up or have any letdowns.

Uniyah’s Shine Award-winning poem (best individual performance) came during the second of 22 school performances Thursday night at H.D. Woodson. It set the stage for much more courage, as kids as young as 8 delivered one powerful performance after another. Memorized. Choreographed. And performed with passion.

Thank you, Uniyah, for reminding us, for reminding the capacity audience, that doing such a thing takes great bravery. There’s no doubt about that.

“So everyone, stand up, put a first in the air and show everyone how brave we are,” she concluded her poem.

Not one person in the building stayed seated. Fists were raised. And the Eastside Slam! REALLY got going.

So how do these kids show such courage on stage? Let’s start with TLC.

Teamwork, leadership and commitment are DC SCORES’ core values, and no team better illustrated their importance than the Aiton Bears, who ended the night rushing the stage for the fourth consecutive year as Golden Mic champions.


Sporting red and blue TLC T-shirts, the Bears ran through a poem about each value – their voices and movements in unison. There is an “i” in Aiton, but it’s clear that the “t” for team wins out.

I hope that you can see
how committed we can be
To soccer and poetry here we go
For five days in a row

Speaking of commitment, DC SCORES’ poets could probably fix our country’s problems today. In place of complaining poems (an easy thing to do in 2017!), there were myriad solution poems. Kids celebrated the present while predicting the future, their future, where they’ll be in 10 years.

There was KIPP Quest, stepping up to the microphone in three different groups – the classes of 2025, 2026 and 20w7.

Dear future me
It’s 2027 you see
So, take a look at me
I’m finishing up at KCP
It’s off to college for me to

Speaking of teamwork, it dominated the night. Sitting for three hours isn’t easy, but the schools not performing couldn’t have been more engaged. During poems that dropped a beat, they clapped along. They encourage cheered a poet who forgot a line. They high-fived other schools’ kids heading to or from the stage.

And during the dance contest, a kid from Orr who was originally shy of the bright spotlight overcame his fear thanks to the loudest cheers for any dancer from everyone crowding the stage. Teamwork made that happen.

Then there was the rap battle, a back-and-forth between two KIPP KEY girls who would’ve made Eminem proud. They might not have seemed on the same team, but they pushed each other with their lines and had the audience ooohing and ahhing. At the end of the night, the 13-year-olds, Jermoni B. and Kenniya C., stood together on stage to receive the middle school Shine Award and KIPP KEY’s third-place trophy.


Speaking of leadership…

I wish that nobody had to live on the streets or be empty-handed
I wish I had enough money to build a new school to help students get better
I wish that all DC Public Schools were bully free
I wish I could help homeless people find jobs so they can provide for themselves

Those were the wise words of Turner Elementary, but the theme carried on throughout the night. Everyone took the lead in picturing better lives – not just for themselves but for others. That’s a pretty incredible sentiment coming from third- fourth- and fifth-graders.

But then again, this is the 12th week of the DC SCORES season. TLC is everywhere. Next to the drinking fountain before the Slam!, a kid from Imagine Hope Tolson said, “You know what? It doesn’t matter if we win or lose. Let’s just have fun.” And that’s what everyone did even if their team didn’t rush the stage at night’s end for a picture with D.C. United’s Talon.

When emcee extraordinaire Charity Blackwell asked for examples of sportsmanship before the show, a kid five rows back raised his hand and eloquently explained the importance of respecting the other team, your teammates, the referee (in soccer), your coaches, the field and yourself. We couldn’t have said it better.

Teamwork. Leadership. Commitment.

TLC was on display all night, and students brought it under the bright lights one performance after another – bravery undressed and brilliant for all eyes to see.

Elementary Schools
1st place – Aiton Elementary School
2nd place – KIPP QUEST Academy
3rd place – Amidon Elementary School
Spirit Award – Burrville Elementary School
Shine Award – Uniyah C., Miner Elementary School

Middle Schools
1st place – Kelly Miller Middle School
2nd place – Jefferson Middle School
3rd place – KIPP KEY Academy
Spirit Award – Hart Middle School
Shine Award – Jermoni B. & Kenniyah C., KIPP KEY

Diversity celebrated at 20th Annual Westside DC SCORES Poetry Slam!


Full photo album on FLICKR

The night started with a resounding, ear-splitting “I LOVE DC SCORES” from a packed auditorium of DC kids and their families. During the following three hours, 23 teams of poets took the stage.

The poems varied widely, but a central message emerged, and then re-emerged, throughout the first night of the 20th Annual DC SCORES Poetry Slam! – we are special, we are diverse, and collectively, we are powerful.

“We’re about to blow your minds,” crowed the Seaton Stingers just minutes in the show. And that they would, as their name was called last some three hours later as the elementary school Golden Mic champion. Seaton rushed the stage for their photo with D.C. United coach Ben Olsen. That was the night’s end.

But back to the beginning…

Your team should always give power
Every hour
No matter what
This is what DC Scores means

Seaton’s Diamond G. finished her riveting, pulsating, auditorium-shaking poem “Soccer’s my thing” with those lines, and the theme carried for 21 more performances.

Power was given. From one poet to the next. From one team dressed in their matching DC SCORES jerseys to the next.

When the 2016 Poetry Slam! took place on Nov. 16 of last year, kids in DC SCORES and their families were just starting to feel the reverberations of possible changes in our country. Now, many of them have felt the effects of the past year. Many have been directly affected by changes around them.

On Wednesday, they let their voices be heard while celebrating their diversity and communities and shutting down stereotypes.


There were LaSalle-Backus’ kids, 8-10 years old, speaking about guns and the Las Vegas tragedy. One kid after another stepped to the mic to tell the crowd why they hated guns. “Guns changed my life when my uncle got killed,” a boy said. “He was only 20. A young life wasted.”

KIPP WILL took the stage next and to the beat of their song, started…

Tamir Rice - why did this happen
Sandra Bland - she didn’t get justice
Michael Brown - he was going to college
Philando Castile - his child saw him die
Eric Garner - he was minding his own business
Tayvon Martin - he was only a child

“That’s what Martin Luther King taught us,” the middle schoolers concluded. “(That) we will stand to fight, with all our might/Fighting for our rights tonight.”

There was Chavez Prep, a mostly Hispanic school, proudly letting anyone with preconceived notions know that “Just because we are hispanic…”

“Doesn’t mean (insert stereotype).”

And there was H.D. Cooke – featured earlier in the day by WUSA-9 – reminding us all that love always wins. Marie Reed chimed in too with a poignant ode to Moms that must have catalyzed tears throughout the auditorium, if not phone calls to Moms everywhere after.

If hate has spread during the last year, it was nowhere to be found inside Roosevelt’s walls Wednesday night.

Rather, diversity was celebrated. Nearly every 5-minute performance began with a kid introducing the poem titles in English and Spanish. Many poems were performed in both languages. Kids proudly held up flags of their native countries. As always, ethnic favorite foods were celebrated, eliciting joyous laughter from the audience.

Bilingual school Bancroft spoke of the immigrant struggle:

In the USA, looking for opportunities
Like work and school to build up our community
We come prepared to do the hard work
So that the children can do their homework
Teachers show students how to read, write, and dream
Using these things to live the American dream

Powell Bilingual Elementary, dressed in their orange soccer jerseys, was next and came with a unifying message:

Make the world a better place
Understand how other people feel
Notice how they’re being treated
Inequality has to stop
Treat people the way you want to be treated
You can change the world


And change the world, these kids will do. Because if they can stand up in front of 500 people at such a young age and express their innermost thoughts, fears and hopes, they can do anything.

Earlier in the day, WUSA-9’s segment started like this: “DC SCORES is perhaps most well-known for offering soccer programs.” The nightcap illustrated that the passion kids have for soccer – as Diamond punctuated with her award-winning poem – translates to the stage.

Poetry is just as important. And probably even more powerful.

Elementary Schools
1st place – Seaton Elementary School
2nd place – Tubman Elementary School
3rd place – H.D. Cooke Elementary School
Spirit Award – Powell Elementary School
Shine Award – Diamond G., Seaton Elementary School

Middle Schools
1st place – Truesdell Education Campus
2nd place – Brightwood Education Campus
3rd place – Cesar Chavez Prep
Spirit Award – LaSalle-Backus Education Campus
Shine Award – Ja’Quan L., KIPP WILL

Volunteer spotlight: David Shams, building community through soccer


DC SCORES has more than 500 volunteers who help make our program possible for 2,500 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. David Shams is a writer and avid D.C. United supporter who felt the desire to give back to his community by doing what he loves - coaching. He is in his first season coaching soccer at Brightwood Education Campus for the middle school team. Recently, David took time off to chat with us about his DC SCORES volunteering experience.

Community is the theme at 20th Annual Fall Frenzy


Fall Frenzy photo album

On a cool fall Saturday, action dominated a three-tier landscape at Trinity Washington University’s athletic fields.

Tier 1: DC SCORES teams decked out in their soccer uniforms – a different color for each school – rotated between stations made possible by myriad volunteer groups. Every 20 minutes, they switched. Soccer shooting with D.C. United, and autographs with professional goalie Travis Worra; Mad Libs with City Kids; “catch or head it” with Grant Thornton LLP; relay races with November Project DC. Wherever you looked, volunteers led activities that kept each group of poet-athletes engaged and smiling.

Coach Guzmán: Making an impact for more than 10 years

When the opportunity came to nominate a coach for a Hispanic Heritage Month award from the Mayor’s Office on Latino Affairs, it was a clear consensus that Coach John Guzmán was the perfect choice.


Coach Guzmán is a DC native who has been a part of the Bancroft Elementary School community since he attended himself in the late 1990s. As the oldest of six children to Peruvian immigrants, Guzmán also attended Bell Multicultural High School and served in the Army National Guard as an aircraft technician.

DC SCORES adds eight leaders to Board of Directors

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Jake Lloyd 202.393.6999 x313

Award-winning nonprofit shows commitment to program expansion with additions

[Washington, DC] – [September 29, 2017] – DC SCORES took another big step towards expansion by bringing eight corporate leaders onto its Board of Directors. These leaders, and the 14 Board members they are joining, are charged with growing DC SCORES sustainably and responsibly to serve every child in DC in need of a team. Over the past five years, DC SCORES, which provides free afterschool programs and summer camps to kids in high-poverty neighborhoods, has grown from 750 kids at 22 sites to over 2500 kids at 59 sites across the District. The new Board additions come on the heels of the organization winning three awards for nonprofit management – the AIM for Excellence Award (for best-managed nonprofit in the DC-Maryland-Virginia area); the Center for Nonprofit Advancement Board Leadership Award (for best nonprofit Board in the region); and inclusion in the 2017-18 Catalogue for Philanthropy as “one of the best small charities in the Greater Washington region.”

For older DC SCORES blog posts dating back to 2009, visit