During the mega winter of 2014-2105, when far too many kids are shut out from access to sports, recreation and enrichment opportunities, Beyond Soccer kids are keeping busy nourishing their minds and bodies.
Here is a sampling of our wintertime successes:
From September 2014 through February 2015, Beyond Soccer instructors provided 859 elementary school children at 7 partner schools and community organizations with 17,310 minutes (or 289 hours) of physical activity.
Our leadership program continues to grow: Lawrence, for the first time, will have 6 high school students refereeing Essex County Travel League games. It was a grueling all-day course with lots of homework. Way to go Relinet (Central Catholic), Diego (St. John’s), Pedro (Greater Lawrence Tech), Omar (Notre Dame), Raydelis and Hugo (Lawrence High). Can’t wait to see you on the fields this spring.
Winter speed and agility session turnouts have averaged more than 50 weekly Beyond Soccer travel players. Part-time trainer, Dawon Dicks, is sharing 11 years of performance training with our team. Dawon is using his many levels of fitness knowledge to teach kids body mechanics and the importance of correcting imbalances that keep them working efficiently and staying healthy.
Beyond Soccer wrote 33 recommendations for U14 travel participants. Our kids are beginning to hear good news from numerous area private and public high schools. Stay tuned to learn where our kids end up.
School-day programming; Key to improving the health and well being of young people in Lawrence.
Two young Guilmette elementary school students run up to me (Lindsey McArdle, Health Kicks! Director) in the hallway in between classes last Friday. They are so excited to get my attention. The first young 2nd grade student who participated in Session 1 (September ’14) said, “Remember me, I’m healthy now.” “Me too,” yells the other young boy. “I now bring apples to school for lunch.” – We experience these types of exchanges ALL the time in the Lawrence schools. Additionally, because it’s our second year at the Guilmette, we get to teach the same kids (only now a year older).”
A recent study of Lawrence school children by the Boston Foundation and Tufts University found that less than 25% of overweight and normal weight children met the daily recommendation of 60 minutes of physical activity per day and only 7% of obese children met the recommendation (click here for news article, Lawrence Students Not Getting Enough Exercise).
Our school day soccer and wellness programs will reach 1,450 school children by the end of this school year, a 350% increase from 2014! Our programs are designed to reverse negative trends and lay the foundation for healthy living. We reach impressionable, elementary school kids whose health habits are still forming. For most 6-9 year old kids, our curriculum provides their very first introduction to sport and nutrition. We also expect more and more kids to join our recreational and travel teams where they will get even more access to regular, year-round fitness, soccer, nutrition and enrichment experiences. We are carefully preparing for this anticipated upsurge in enrollment, and are excited for the challenge.
Meet Liah, another shining of example of what it means to be a Beyond Soccer student-athlete!
You probably first learned about Liah in our December 12th Facebook post. She was recognized for high honor roll grades and perfect attendance at the Frost Middle School. Leading up to our introduction in early 2014, Liah – with no prior soccer experience – had been begging her parents for a chance to play. Her parents found us quickly, and ever since that first meeting, Liah and her family have been making a big impact on our programs and the Beyond Soccer community.
What Beyond Soccer means to Liah in her own words:
“Beyond Soccer, how do I start, they are my second family, and I am so proud to be part of this family. They have helped me in so many ways, not only on my soccer, but on my confidence. When I first stepped on the soccer field, I already knew that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life and that this was going to be the sport for me. They teach you, that no matter how much you are struggling, to keep trying. I know that Beyond Soccer will always be there for me.”
Liah’s Beyond Soccer activities over the last year: U12 Bulldogs Travel Team (spring & fall), Off Season Speed & Agility Training, Merrimack Valley FC Footskills Sessions (Andover), Skillz Sessions (Homegrown Lacrosse, N. Andover), Health Kicks! Cooking Courses, She’s Got Game Leadership Event @ the Boston Garden, Neighbors In Need Farm Trip (Windham, NH), Boston College Lady Eagle’s Summer Camp (Newton), Boston Soccer Academy Camp (Andover), Boston Breakers Outing (Harvard University), Beyond Soccer’s two-week Soccer/Wellness Camp
THANK YOU to all of our friends who contributed to our year-end fundraising campaign. We raised just over $20,000! Our player highlights and program success stories are the product of your generosity.