There are several different means to use the power of football – or soccer, for that matter – to improve the lives of young kids. There is an institution in the USA supported by the Football For Hope programme that has come up with a rich and quite original way of doing it.
America SCORES first started in Washington DC in 1994 as an idea by public school teacher Julie Kennedy, who identified football as an ideal tool to keep her students in a safe and healthy environment after classes were finished. Whenever the weather was too bad, though, her pupils were kept indoors to learn from another of her passions: poetry.
And so were sown the seeds of an educational programme that now uses the two things – football and poetry – as the centrepieces to reach over 10,000 students across the United States.
“We want students to build self-confidence, develop a stronger friendship and positive role models,” says America SCORES’ Executive Director in New York, Shannon Schneeman. “We do this through the combined curriculum of soccer, poetry and community service.”