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Soccer at The White House
America SCORES invited to White House for Let’s Move event with First Lady Michelle Obama
On March 26, 2013, America SCORES students got the opportunity of a lifetime.From America SCORES programs in Atlanta, Boston, Cleveland and DC, they traveled to The White House to join President Obama in celebrating the LA Galaxy’s MLS championship and to participate in a Let’s Move event with the professional athletes. Using soccer and poetry to improve health and literacy among urban youth, America SCORES participants increase physical fitness, and improve grammar, writing mechanics, and overall academic engagement.
“We are honored that The White House recognizes the importance of what we do to address obesity. The invite to the White House is beyond what we have dreamed for these kids and is an amazing opportunity that they will remember the rest of their lives,”
Founding Executive Director
America SCORES St. Louis
Among the 25 America SCORES elementary school student participants, or “poet-athletes,” invited by the First Lady, was 10-year-old Karter Harris, an elementary school student from Cleveland, had never left her hometown before. After participating in America SCORES afterschool soccer and poetry program for two years, Harris’ accomplishments on the field and in the classroom brought her before President Obama and members of the Major League Soccer champion LA Galaxy in Washington, DC last week. Next week she will be in New York City to perform at the 7th Annual America SCORES National Poetry SLAM!.
“I always wanted to travel out of Cleveland. I was excited because I was going to meet The President but I was scared because I thought I would get homesick,” Harris says. When President Obama walked into the room, “my heart just stopped. I stood up and clapped as hard as I could because I was just so excited and happy to meet him.”
Trips to Washington, DC and New York are unique and special experiences for kids like Karter. Each year, thousands of poet-athletes work toward the chance to perform at the National Poetry SLAM!, which includes time to play soccer and perform poetry with their “teammates” from each of the fourteen cities served by America SCORES. After twelve weeks in the fall season of this afterschool writing program, local performances, and regional auditions, the select representatives will have three days to explore the Big Apple and perform poetry for a live audience at the centre of global commerce.
Each year, America SCORES serves 8,000 students at 150 schools through fourteen affiliates located in major urban centers across the United States. Through a unique combination of soccer, poetry, and service-learning, America SCORES inspires urban youth to lead healthy lives, be engaged students, and have the confidence and character to make a difference in the world. America SCORES participants receive ten times more exercise than the national average and lower their BMI by 2% by the end of each season. Using soccer as a tool to encourage fitness, sportsmanship, and leadership, America SCORES inspires the life-long appreciation of sports and health-enhancing behaviors like choosing to eat more fruit and vegetables, participating in organized sports and spending less time watching television and playing video games.
The students began their day trip to our Nation’s Capital with an early flight from Logan Airport. For many of the students, it was their first time ever boarding an airplane. The flight went smoothly and the students landed in DC with enough time to tour the monuments and memorials before their appointment at the White House. The students posed for pictures in front of iconic American symbols including the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Second Division Memorial, and Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. It was fantastic to see the student’s awe and excitement at seeing these classic sights firsthand. Continue the story in America SCORES Boston’s blog .
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