Poet-athletes began their season of DC SCORES programs in March. Photo: Brandon Williams.
Last week, DC SCORES celebrated the beginning of its spring season of soccer, poetry, and service-learning programs at elementary school soccer matches across the District.
For the past month, DC SCORES teams have been attending practice after school to hone their soccer and writing skills, but last week played in their first competitive matches against other schools since the end of the fall season in November.
On Wednesday, DC SCORES hosted ten Junior SCORES matches across the city, and on Thursday 32 elementary school teams played in 16 games, which were held in almost every ward in DC. Friday’s middle school fixtures were postponed due to inclement weather but will be rescheduled for later in the season.
“It was wonderful to see the excitement on our poet-athletes’ faces as they walked out onto the field in their game-day jerseys. I so was impressed by how much the kids demonstrated our DC SCORES values of fair play, teamwork, and dedication,” said Katrina Owens, Executive Director of DC SCORES.
Every child in the DC SCORES program participates in five days of free afterschool programming during the nonprofit’s fall and spring seasons. Blending its signature components of soccer, poetry, and service learning, the DC SCORES curriculum provides holistic opportunities for poet-athletes to enrich their physical, emotional, and social well-being.
Every child in the DC SCORES program participates in two soccer practices, a soccer game day, and two writing sessions per week. Photo: Brandon Williams.
In the fall, poet-athletes take part in two weekly soccer practices and one competitive soccer match against another DC SCORES team, as well as two writing practices, where students work on producing original poetry. In the spring, DC SCORES teams use their writing practices to develop service-learning projects that address issues they explored in their fall poetry.
Previous service-learning projects created by poet-athletes include cultivating a sensory garden to celebrate neurodiversity, fundraising to support people experiencing homelessness in their neighborhoods, and hosting a talent show for residents in a nearby care home.
“Our model is designed so that kids develop teamwork on the field, then they apply that teamwork to exploring the issues they collectively care about and to making a difference in their neighborhood communities,” said Owens.
At his Junior SCORES match on Wednesday, Joey, a poet-athlete at LaSalle-Backus Elementary School, said that weekly practices were helping to prepare him for soccer games. “I love practices because I don’t really know what to do on games so I get to know what to do to win,” he shared.
Victory was also on the mind of Keariyon, the co-captain of the girls’ DC SCORES team at Seaton Elementary School. When asked what she was most looking forward to for her first game day, she confidently replied, “Honestly, winning!”