Volunteer spotlight: Laurie Gonzalez
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.
Today we highlight Laurie Gonzalez, assistant coach at Jefferson Middle School and soccer fanatic. Laurie is an established member of Screaming Eagles, one of D.C. United’s supporters groups. She is in her second year of coaching Jefferson, and helped her team win the Eastside Poetry Slam! last year. Laurie’s team feeds off of her contagiously energetic personality, and she recently furthered her support of DC SCORES by joining League of Champions and our Advisory Council. Want to get involved like Laurie? Sign up to volunteer HERE.
What do you do for a living? I’ve worked for Deloitte in their federal consulting practice for over a decade and I have had a number of different roles. In my current position, I work with the leaders in the firm to help advise them on the best ways to deploy our consultants so that we can appropriately staff projects and expand our growth.
How did you get involved with DC SCORES? A little over a year ago, I met a DC SCORES staff member at a Screaming Eagles event and he immediately hooked me! I knew a little about the organization through my involvement with D.C. United. But as I learned more about the amazing impact DC SCORES has had on my community, I knew I wanted to find a way to get involved. At the start I planned to volunteer one day a week, but that quickly changed when I met the kids. It is such a rewarding experience.
As a very involved member of the Screaming Eagles (a supporters’ group of D.C. United), how do you see them supporting DC SCORES? While the two groups are often intertwined, I think there is a huge opportunity for the Screaming Eagles and DC SCORES to build an even stronger partnership. Screaming Eagles members share a passion for both soccer and supporting their community, and I think there is huge potential if we can tap into that passion and find ways for Screaming Eagles members to easily get involved with DC SCORES to donate their time, resources, or skills. There is power in numbers. Let’s find a way to use that power for good in supporting our kids through DC SCORES.
What has your coaching experience been like at Jefferson Middle School? Being a coach with DC SCORES has been so rewarding! At first I found it challenging to get the kids to trust me, but after a few weeks of consistently showing up to practices, I think they realized I wasn’t going anywhere. It was such an amazing feeling when they started to open up to me. Over the last year, I’ve been able to create some pretty meaningful relationships with my players, so it’s very exciting to see them grow not only in their soccer skills, but also in their confidence as they become young adults.
Is there one game/event that was extra special over the past few years? Every game has been special, but one memory that stands out in my mind was a cold and rainy game where we were lost to our biggest rival. While it certainly wasn’t only his fault, our goalie was upset and placing a lot of the blame on his own small shoulders. When the rest of the team saw him crying they immediately put aside their own feelings and rallied around him with hugs and words of encouragement. Seeing this display of support from a group of middle school boys and girls (whom aren’t always nice to each other) was a hugely impactful moment for me.
How has your time with DC SCORES impacted you? One of the biggest surprises has been how much my involvement with DC SCORES has enhanced my own life. Not only do I love the time I spend with my players, but it’s opened up a number of other doors for me to get involved with the community. I recently was invited to join the DC SCORES Advisory Council, where I am so excited to bring my work and life experiences to the table, beyond just the soccer field, to help support such an amazing organization!