Monday, March 28, 2011

Maple Lawn v Steven's Park: A Volunteer's Perspective

The most recent game day for America SCORES was between Maple Lawn and Stevens Park elementary schools. As a new volunteer for America SCORES I was excited to see the fruits of everyone’s labor (the students, the coaches, and the people behind the scenes who keep this organization humming) culminate into a fun and beautiful afternoon of soccer.

We showed up early to paint the lines for the field and assemble the goals. Before we could even get the equipment ready a group of the America SCORES students had already gathered around the field eager to start practice and kick the ball around. You could tell the students were genuinely excited about the game, and almost annoyed with the fact that they weren’t already playing. We recruited them to help assemble the goals, which ended up being a great exercise in teamwork, because I don’t think any of us were exactly positive on how to put them together. Once the initial setup was complete the boys and the girls were separated to start drills and get warmed up. It was obvious to me at this point that the competitive spirit wasn’t a necessary element of game day; it was mostly about running around and having fun. The kids really just wanted to hang out with their friends.

As it got closer to game time the field started to fill up with friends, parents, siblings, and teachers. It was great to see that this was actually a community event. Everyone wanted to come out and support the players, and in a way, support the organization. The game was 40 minutes of organized chaos, but that’s okay because everyone was yelling and shouting and cheering them on, and you could tell it really made them feel good.

The game was an overall success (as I am sure every game is) because, while score is not taken into consideration, everyone wins. The kids were able to have fun, get exercise, practice teamwork and gain confidence through the support of their friends and family. The parents were able to see their kids have healthy interactions with others and work towards a common goal. And the teachers, coaches and volunteers were visibly able to see that they were helping to build and strengthen communities. It is a great representation of how America SCORES is able to fulfill its mission, and I am very glad to be a part of it.

Katie Jackson
America SCORES Dallas Volunteer

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

National Spotlight on Nutrition Education

Many things happen in March. Spring Break. March Madness. Spring Equinox. St. Patrick’s Day. It is also the month of the American Diabetes Association’s annual campaign, National Nutrition Month©.  For 2011, the theme is “Eat Right with Color” and focuses on how the nutritional value of food can be indicated by their naturally bright pigments.  Green broccoli, red bell pepper, purple egg plant, yellow banana, just to name a few!

Here at America SCORES Dallas, we celebrate healthy lifestyles everyday in the classroom and out on the soccer field.  We educate, lead by example, and make fun games around eating healthy and participating in physical activities.  Last week at Maple Lawn Elementary, the girls’ soccer team played “Red Light, Green Light,” a game based on identifying healthy foods (a green light to dribble forward) and unhealthy foods (a red light to stop dribbling). This type of health education is pivotal for the children we serve, who all live in low-income and minority neighborhoods. These children face a number of barriers to eating healthy, participating in physical activities, and gaining knowledge of healthy habits, yet they consistently have deficient education and support from the school district.
As the nation observes nutrition education awareness this month, America SCORES Dallas celebrates our students' progress toward healthier lives every day.

Check out the campaign's nutrition education games and quizzes!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

First Game Day of the Year: Cesar Chavez v Maple Lawn

Last Friday, the orange of Cesar Chavez and the purple of Maple Lawn united on the winter-browned field of Cesar Chavez Learning Center.  The goal nets billowed in the wind, the on-lookers shielded their eyes from the February sun, and the kids happily chased the flying soccer ball.  As the first game day of 2011, Friday saw an overwhelming turn out of parents, teachers, and other students on the side lines cheering on their teams.  Even the Cesar Chavez Thunderbirds cheerleaders were out jumping, flipping, and cheering.

The two games were a great start to a spring full of soccer games and fun.  Stay posted for more updates on the upcoming games and events!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Wells Fargo Advisors Visit Cesar Chavez Learning Center

Earlier this month, Wells Fargo Advisors presented America SCORES Dallas with a check for $8,500.  The boys and girls of Cesar Chavez Learning Center were able to help accept the check on behalf of America SCORES Dallas and learn about the bigger picture surrounding their daily afterschool program.  Wells Fargo Advisors help us empower our at-risk youth to be more engaged students, supportive teammates, and leaders of healthy lifestyles and community change.  Thank you Wells Fargo Advisors!