On May 11th, SCORES poet-athletes participated in the annual SHOUT Game Day at Douglas Park. In addition to playing soccer, the kids helped clean up the park, went on an exercise scavenger hunt, and conducted interviews with opposition team members, which they used to create a poem about their interview partner. SHOUT! is a great way for the kids to get to know other SCORES poet-athletes who aren’t on their team and may live in different neighborhoods. Partner poetry allows them to bond very quickly over shared interests. Here is am example of one of the poems a poet-athlete wrote:
William is my friend
He’ll be my friend ‘til the end
We play soccer
But he’s not a ball hogger
William is my friend.
After the teams finished their interviews and cleaned up the park, they did a scavenger hunt. Racing around the park, they searched for cards tied to trees. Each card had different exercises for them to do including planks, lunges, and frog jumps and why exercise is an important component of health. Finally, when they were done with each activity, it was time to play soccer (if they had any energy left!). When asked what she thought of SHOUT Game Day, Stephanie said, “my favorite parts were scoring a goal and doing the team interview. I learned that Melanie’s love science, the Cubs, and Taylor Swift, and that her favorite superhero is her sister.” We had a blast at SHOUT and can’t wait to do it all again next year.
Hunt4Soccer is a non profit founded in 2004 in memory of Hunt Silock, who died suddenly in 2002 at the age of 13. Hunt4Soccer works with after school programs like America SCORES Chicago, to prove at risk youth with their own soccer ball that they can keep even after the program ends. So far they have given out over 106,000 soccer balls to children from all across the country.
Hunt4Soccer provides balls for each of our poet-athletes every season. This is extremely beneficial for our kids and gives them the ability to practice at home and stay fit. Each season, Master Coach Dean goes to every school to run an interactive training session and personally hand out the Hunt4Soccer balls after the training. He tells our students about Hunt4Soccer and the impact that this program has on the lives of children all around the country. One April 26th, Coach Dean went to Catalyst, one of our new partner schools this season, and ran the training with the elementary school boys team. He ended the training session by giving out the Hunt4Soccer balls to each happy participant! When asked about getting the Hunt4Soccer balls, Bryan, a 4th grader at Catalyst said, “It was really cool! Some of us didn’t have our own soccer balls so we couldn’t practice at home, but now, because of Hunt4Soccer we can practice everyday!"
We are so excited to kick off our partnership with Hidden Gems. Hidden Gems is a non-profit founded by professional soccer player, Stephanie McCaffrey, a member of the Chicago Red Stars in the NWSL and the United States women’s national soccer team. “At Hidden Gems, we were motivated to help young girls from underserved communities foster ambition and develop high impact attributes and life skills. With the limited time we have available as full-time professional athletes, our partnership with America SCORES Chicago provided the mentorship opportunity and the logistical framework we needed to make a positive difference. That being said, this partnership is much more special than your typical business arrangement. When two organizations truly share the same core values and mission with the end goal of doing good for others, the bond is much stronger and the possibilities are much greater!”
We had our first joint-practice on Monday, April 23rd at Pilsen Academy. Katie Naughton and Sarah Gorden joined Coach Karen’s practice and had a blast with our Pilsen elementary school girls team. When asked what she thought of the Hidden Gems coaches, one of the poet-athletes, Jahaita, said, “they were awesome and cool! They helped us a lot. I can’t wait for them to come back and work with us again.” Coach Kari, our program manager said, “I am thrilled to see where the Hidden Gems partnership with America SCORES goes. I think it is great that Red Stars players are willing to come out to schools in high-needs areas to show our poet-athletes that there are fierce, strong, skilled women on and off the field. I think by meeting and interacting with the Red Stars players' our poet-athletes will build lasting relationships and develop higher self-esteem.” We look forward to watching this partnership grow, and can’t wait to see the positive impact that is has on our poet-athletes!