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.
Another important thank you to our winter-time partners, including the Cummings Foundation
, Amelia Peabody Foundation, New Balance Foundation
, American Heart Association
, Dream Big!
, Mia Hamm Foundation
, Lawrence General Hospital
, Banks Baldwin Foundation, Red Sox Foundation
, Jessie B. Cox Foundation, Stevens Foundation, Lawrence YMCA
, Lawrence Boys & Girls Club
, Lawrence Public Schools
, Merrimack Valley FC and Benefica USA Soccer Club
Pictured right: U14 Travel Player, Josiery, with her new cleats donated by the Dream Big! Foundation . Dream Big! has been providing us with equipment support and leadership opportunities since 2009.
Michael McArdle, Paul Wennik, Ellen Worrall, Charissa Rigano, Christian Figueroa, Alfredo Sanchez Advisory Members: William Tarbox and Ray Robinson
Junior Advisory Member: Chaskiesha Figueroa