The America SCORES model was developed in 1994 in Washington DC by Julie Kennedy, a public school teacher concerned that her students, lacking constructive after-school options, were at risk of gang activity and other dangers after class. Turning to her experience as an athlete, she began teaching her class soccer after school. In bad weather, she turned to her other passion – poetry – and began teaching her students how to write and perform their poetry. Soon, she noticed her students getting more engaged in class, performing better academically, and spending more time being physically active. By adding a service-learning element based on a student-led neighborhood service project, Julie saw that her students developed confidence and learned that they could affect change in their community. Schools across DC took notice and the program expanded citywide. In 1999, America SCORES grew to a national organization.
Today, America SCORES impacts more than 7,500 youth each year, in over 140 public schools in fifteen cities nationwide. Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, New York, Portland (OR), San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Washington D.C., and West Contra Costa (CA). More than 44,000 urban youth have benefited from the unique programming of America SCORES.