On September 4th, 2019 we began our Fall season. We were in 12 schools, including one new school Marion C. Seltzer and served over 550 Cleveland youth throughout 10 weeks of programming. Our poet-athletes spent time on the soccer field learning soccer skills from dribbling to scoring, as well as leadership and teamwork skills. In the classroom our poet-athletes learned how to use poetry to provide a voice to their thoughts and opinions. We are proud of all the progress our teams made throughout the season and are eager to see them in the Spring!
Each Fall season we kick off the season with our annual Fall Frenzy. This year the Fall Frenzy took place on September 20th at Brookside Reservation. Over 300 of our poet-athletes and their families joined us for an afternoon of soccer games, a book giveaway and food. It was a fantastic afternoon and a great way to start another year of SCORES programming!
Soccer games began on September 26th. Every Thursday, we held Middle School games with our 7 Middle School teams. On Friday we held our Core (3rd-5th graders) games. On October 17th, all our juniors teams got a chance to put on their jerseys and shin guards and play against fellow SCORES students. Each game gave our poet-athletes the chance to hone their skills, meet students from other Cleveland schools and practice teamwork and leadership skills.
This season we also tried something new, we held indoor soccer games. The weather in Cleveland is always a bit unpredictable in the later half of the year, so we brought our teams inside to play in their school gyms. They played a version of soccer called Futsal. This gave our poet-athletes a chance to learn new skills and experience a new version of the game.
Throughout the Fall season we had a number of guest speakers come to talk with our poet-athletes. In preparation for our annual Poetry SLAM we worked with another local nonprofit, Lake Erie Ink, to bring in professional spoken word poets. They helped our poet-athletes write and create their performances for our annual Poetry SLAM.
In the Spring our Middle School students work on an entrepreneurship curriculum called One Hen. They create a product, take out a loan and sell that product with proceeds going a chosen charity. In preparation for the Spring, we brought in TerDawn Deboe, a local entrepreneur and The Winning Team, an inspirational spoken word group to speak with our Middle School teams.
On October 24th we took part in a Lights on Afterschool panel event. Lights on Afterschool is a national day to recognize, celebrate and bring awareness to the importance of afterschool programming. We joined Open Doors Academy, Esperanza Inc. and Boys and Girls Club of Cleveland on a panel to discuss the importance of afterschool programming. We were excited to be able to bring Endia H. one of our poet-athletes from Wade Park. She joined our Executive Director, Debi, on the panel and spoke about how America SCORES Cleveland, has made an impact on her life. It was a fantastic day and we were glad to be able to take part in such an important discussion.
We closed out our Fall season with our annual Poetry SLAM on November 1st at Waetjen Auditorium. Twenty-eight teams took the stage and performed their original poems. Each team wrote about what was important to them. Topics ranged from the environment and issues in their community to their love for Cleveland and Girl Power. It was an inspiring night and we are proud of all our poet-athletes for the hard work they put in throughout the season.