December 19, 2008

Happy Holidays!

America SCORES Denver wants to wish everyone a safe and wonderful holiday season! See you in the new year!

December 16, 2008

Check out this study on bullying!

Evaluation Shows Bullying Reduced

An independent evaluation of The Colorado Trust's three-year, statewide Bullying Prevention initiative shows that bullying declined when adults and students were willing to intervene, treat each other fairly and show they care. The findings also show that schools with less bullying had higher scores on the Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP) in reading, writing and math.

The 45 participating schools, school districts and community organizations estimate they reached 50,000 young people and adults in 40 Colorado counties through this effort. Build Trust, End Bullying, Improve Learning highlights major findings from the evaluation of this intensive initiative and includes tips on how educators, parents and policymakers can help prevent bullying.

December 15, 2008

Why After-School Programs are Important

If you're not home when your child's school bell rings, you probably hope that he or she will stay out of trouble until you get home. It's during these after school hours that children are more likely to get involved in alcohol or illegal drug use, gangs or violence, and sexual activity.

After-school activities are a great way to help reduce your child's unsupervised time, possibly lowering his risk for involvement in these behaviors. After-school activities have several other benefits as well, including

  • Building self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Enhancing social skills
  • Teaching sportsmanship
  • Providing exposure to other cultures and people
  • Improving time management skills.

After-school activities don't have to be school sponsored or school related. Clubs and programs can be sponsored by local community centers, places of worship, 4-H clubs, or nonprofit organizations. Activities can involve academics, sports, foreign languages, arts, or something just for fun! Volunteer work can be another great way for a child or teen to spend her time after school. Volunteering provides kids with a sense of responsibility and compassion; it also can help boost self-confidence as a child learns that she is capable of doing something to help others.

With all these options, how do you decide which program is best for your child? Here are a few things to keep in mind when enrolling your child in after-school activities:

  • What are the child's interests?
  • What is the child's age?
  • What are his abilities?
  • How much time does this activity take?
  • How does the activity fit in with your own schedule?

Remember, after-school activities should not become a burden for your child; they are meant to enhance her knowledge and build her character. She should not be overly tired as a result of these activities. If an after-school activity starts interfering with her school work or takes up so much time that she doesn't have time for family, you may need to cut down the number of hours she spends on it.2 Keep in mind that each child's tolerance is different. One child may be able to handle only one activity, whereas another child may be able to participate in three. Your child's activities should match her needs, interests, and abilities while at the same time accommodating your schedule.

December 1, 2008

Big News!

White House Names America SCORES Among the Best Youth Development Programs in the Country!

America SCORES Denver has just been named a winner of the prestigious Coming Up Taller Award. Given by The President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, the award honors outstanding arts and humanities programs fostering the creative and intellectual development of America's youth. With only 15 winners out of more than 300 nominees, this distinction recognizes the America SCORES Denver program for its ability to inspire and change the lives of at-risk youth. All Coming Up Taller award-winners recently participated in a ceremony at the White House presided over by First Lady Laura Bush.

About Coming Up Taller

The Coming Up Taller Awards recognize and support 15 outstanding community arts and humanities programs that celebrate the creativity of America's young people, provide them learning opportunities and chances to contribute to their communities. These awards focus national attention on exemplary programs currently fostering the creative and intellectual development of America's children and youth through education and practical experience in the arts and the humanities. Accompanied by a cash award, the Coming Up Taller Awards not only reward these projects with recognition, but also contribute significant support to their continued work. More than 300 organizations are annually nominated for the Coming Up Taller Awards.

Coming Up Taller is an initiative with the Institute of Museum and Library Services, National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities to showcase cultural excellence and enhance the availability of out-of-school arts and humanities programs to children.

About the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities

The President of the United States recognizes that the nation's cultural life contributes to the vibrancy of society and the strength of democracy. Through its programs and activities PCAH helps to underscore the civic, social, educational, and historical value of arts and humanities in the life of our nation.

First Lady Laura Bush is the Honorary Chairman of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and her leadership guides the PCAH in carrying out its programs and initiatives. The President's Committee was established by Executive Order in 1982 and plays a key role within each administration in identifying issues and developing initiatives in the arts and the humanities of critical importance to the nation. Specifically, the President's Committee exercises leadership in international cultural cooperation; addresses the needs of youth; recognizes our nation’s creative genius; and preserves our nation’s cultural and historic treasures. In 2001, President Bush appointed Adair Wakefield Margo as Chairman of the PCAH.

Quote from PCAH

“The arts and humanities develop bright young people who will lead our nation in the future,” said Adair Margo, Chairman, President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. “Coming Up Taller recognizes the best of after-school and summer programs that engage youth in music, theatre, dance, photography, history and all kinds of enriching activities that help them realize their full potential as human beings.”

November 21, 2008

Check out the facts!

Active Hours Afterschool: Childhood Obesity Prevention and Afterschool Programs

The obesity crisis in America is ubiquitous and irrefutable, and it’s hitting youth so hard that health experts warn that this generation of children will be the first to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. Tackling and reversing this epidemic will require a comprehensive and sustained effort in every community in America. The nation’s growing network of afterschool providers can make a significant contribution to this battle. Afterschool programs can provide physical activity and nutrition education, healthy snacks and a safe place to play and socialize in the hours after school.

Childhood obesity is a growing epidemic.
+In the past 30 years, the percentage of children in the U.S. who are overweight has more than doubled, and the number of teenagers who are overweight has nearly tripled. (National Center for Health Statistics, 2004)
+A 2006 study predicts that by the year 2010 more than 46 percent of school-age children in the Americas will be overweight and one in seven will be obese. (International Journal of Pediatric Obesity, 2006)

The health and economic costs are astounding.
+In 2003, obesity-attributable medical expenditures in the U.S. were estimated to be $75 billion, approximately one-half of which were financed by Medicare and Medicaid. (Obesity Research, 2004)
+The hospital costs for complications resulting from obesity in youth ages 6-17 soared from $35 million in 1979 to $127 million in 1999. (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2002)
+Severely obese children and adolescents have lower health-related quality of life than non-obese children and have health-related quality of life similar to children and adolescents with cancer. (Journal of the American Medical Association, 2003)
+The National Centers for Disease Control predicts that one in three U.S. children born in 2000 will develop diabetes in their lifetime, and nearly half of African-American and Hispanic children are likely to develop the disease. (National Centers for Disease Control, 2003)

Children are not getting enough physical activity and have unhealthy eating habits.
+61.5 percent of children ages 9-13 do not participate in any organized physical activity outside of school hours, and 22.6 percent do not engage in any type of physical activity during free time. (National Centers for Disease Control, 2003)
+On average, children in the United States spend almost 6.5 hours each day consuming media. (Kaiser Family Foundation, 2005)
+In 2000, fewer than 10 percent of elementary, junior high, middle and high schools surveyed provided daily physical education or an equivalent, and fewer than half of all schools offered any out-of-school time intramural activities or physical activity clubs for students. (National Centers for Disease Control, 2000)
+In 2003, just one-fifth of youth in grades 9-12 consumed the recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables. (National Centers for Disease Control, 2004)

Afterschool programs can help combat the epidemic of childhood obesity.
Additional before- and after- school programs will also help decrease child obesity, expand physical activity, and increase parent and community involvement in schools.
+New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson in his 2006 State of the State Address.
+The Food Research and Action Council identifies afterschool programs as effective venues for improving nutrition, nutrition education and physical activity (Food Research and Action Council, 2006)
+The Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary of Education, in their 2000 report to the President, “Promoting Better Health for Young People Through Physical Activity and Sports,” identified afterschool programs as a means to provide opportunities for youth to be physically active and called for support to enable afterschool programs to do so. (National Centers for Disease Control, 2000)
+In the landmark report “The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent and Decrease Overweight and Obesity,” former U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher recommended that schools take action to provide opportunities for extracurricular physical activity such as intramural sports and physical activity clubs. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2001)
+The American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committees on Sports Medicine and Fitness and School Health recommend that schools provide extra-curricular and out-of-school-time physical activity programs that are inclusive of the needs and interests of the students. (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2000)
+A study of afterschool program participants in three elementary schools found that the afterschool participants were significantly less likely to be obese at the follow-up and were more likely to have increased acceptance among their peers. (Applied Developmental Science, 2005)
+A twelve-week intervention program featuring afterschool dance classes for African American girls between the ages of eight and 10 resulted in lower body mass index, increased physical activity and a trend toward improved grades at school. (Ethnicity & Disease, 2003)

Afterschool program models in practice.
The physical activity and health promotion activities that take place in the hours after school can be as varied as the programs that provide them. Activities can take place in a traditional afterschool setting and can be integrated into a traditional homework and tutoring format, or they can be part of a broader approach in which classroom learning and afterschool activities are part of a coordinated approach to address specific health concerns.
  • In 1998, the University of Utah and the Utah Starzz of the WNBA formed a partnership with two Salt Lake City middle schools to create the afterschool physical activity program “U Move with the Starzz.” The program was created to promote healthy lifestyles through physical activity for urban, adolescent girls in the seventh and eighth grades. The popular program features facilitated activity sessions, cooperative activities and the creation of individual physical activity goals. Interns from the University of Utah visit the program sites on a weekly basis to facilitate the physical sessions, and players and coaches of the Utah Starzz frequently visit. (JOPERD, 2000)
  • Each day after school, the student members of the Arriba Health Club at Roosevelt Elementary School in Santa Ana, California, are getting a workout. They are participating in a program started by the community group Latino Health Access as a means to improve eating habits and encourage physical activity. During their time spent in the club, students actively participate in a variety of physical activities, from team sports to calisthenics. They also engage in activities such as Five-A-Day Bingo to promote healthy eating habits. (Newsweek, 2003)
  • The Mount Diablo Unified School District After School Program in Northern California promotes physical activity and nutrition for students in the first through eighth grades during the afterschool hours. Located at 14 sites throughout the district, each program provides 7 hours of physical activity and nutrition instruction per week. The students receive 30 minutes of physical activity per day, using “fitness cards” that include self-paced and self-monitored physical activities for the students to complete. For the nutrition component, the students participate in a garden-based nutrition program that focuses on the development of healthy eating habits with an emphasis on eating five servings of fruit and vegetables a day. (California Nutrition Network, 2003)
(brought to you by

November 13, 2008

9th Annual Poetry Slam!

Last night America SCORES Denver hosted the 9th Annual Poetry Slam at the Oriental Theatre. Students performed a variety of solo poems, choreographed group acts, and even some short stories, with the common thread being all the hard work put in during writing class to get them on that stage!

We would also like to thank the members of Buntport Theatre who helped host the event, leading the kids in warmup activities, announcing each school, and even performing an act from their show Trunks!

Thank you to all of the parents and community members who came out to support the students of America SCORES Denver! Please enjoy some pictures from the night!
(Below: The Oriental Theatre!)

Barnum performing!

Munroe performing!

Enjoying the show!

November 12, 2008

A Report from the 2008 Colorado Health Report Card:

Summary of Findings:

An accumulating body of evidence demonstrates that obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 27 percent of adults, or almost 60 million people, are obese. If current trends continue, two-thirds of adults will be overweight or obese by 2015. Obesity increases the chances of developing a multitude of chronic diseases, including hypertension, asthma, cardiovascular disease and diabetes—all of which contribute to high medical costs and can lead to premature death. This extensive review of the medical literature has identified factors that contribute to the likelihood of becoming obese. The most predominant of these are modifiable lifestyle behaviors: Most Americans expend fewer calories than they consume. This decreased caloric expenditure is due to increasingly sedentary lifestyles and insufficient exercise.

Environmental factors also contribute to obesity, particularly among poorer, less-educated people. In low income communities, fast food is much easier to find—and more affordable—than fresh produce. People living in underserved communities have limited access to playgrounds and safe recreational facilities where they can engage in physical activity. Data from the 2007 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS) indicate that adults who attended college were significantly more likely to be of normal weight than adults who did not finish high school.
Some research suggests that obesity may have a genetic component. Fifty chromosomal locations on the human genome have been identified as potential causal genes. This line of research suggests the potential for gene-based interventions that may be effective for treating and preventing obesity.

Ethnicity is another predictor of obesity. Data from CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) reveal that blacks and Hispanics are more likely to be obese than whites and that obesity rates are lowest in Asians. These disparities may be explained in part by differences in cultural perspectives on weight and body image.

This literature review also identified weight-loss interventions that have proven successful among obese people. The majority of these interventions focus on diet and exercise. Obese and overweight children lose weight—often while improving their academic performance—when nutritional choices at school improve and physical education time increases. Recent research on innovative interventions that focus on the entire family or on improving the environment also looks promising.

More information on this topic can be found in the News Section of the Colorado Health ( website.

November 10, 2008

What a Season!

While Friday marked the end of the America SCORES Denver soccer season, we are still looking forward to the Poetry SLAM to be held this Wednesday evening! Stay tuned for some pictures of the season highlights to come later in the week. Just a reminder:

Poetry SLAM Information:
The Oriental Theatre

4335 W 44th Ave
, Denver CO
(Corner of 44th and Tennyson)
When: This Wednesday! 11/12. 5:30-7:30pm

November 3, 2008

Recommended Reading!

(From US Youth Soccer)

Good Reads for Coaches and Parents!

-The ADHD Affected Athlete
By: Michael E. Stabeno

-Coaches who Never Lose…Making Sure Athletes Win, No Matter What the Score
By: Dr. Frank L. Smoll and Dr. Ronald E. Smith

-Developing Decision Makers – An Empowerment Approach to Coaching
By: Dr. Lynn Kidman

-Molding Young Athletes: How Parents and Coaches Can Positively Influence Kids in Sports
By: Darrell Erickson

-Positive Coaching
By: Jim Thompson

-Sports and your Child – Developing Champions in Sports and in Life
2nd Edition
By, Dr. Frank L. Smoll and Dr. Ronald E. Smith

-Win or Lose: A Guide to Sports Parenting
By: Dan Saferstein

October 30, 2008

Colorado Rapids' players in our schools!

Pictured left is Conor Casey, one of the Rapids' players who visited an America SCORES Denver soccer practice last week! Rapids' players and SCORES students alike had a great time, as drills were practiced, and new skills introduced for the kids to try out.

Pictured below are some action shots from the visits!

Students at Munroe Elementary had a chance to watch goalie Preston Burpo, and defender Facundo Erpen model some drills to practice for improvement of their game. They then scrimmaged, while Preston and Facundo gave out some helpful hints...

Students at Barnum Elementary had a chance to interact with goalie Bouna Coundoul and Mike Petke, who played a lot of drill games, and even got Coach Olivas in on the action! Just below, Bouna tests out the juggling skills of Coach Olivas, which the kids love!

Just above: the Barnum boys and girls team, Coach Olivas, Bouna Coundoul and Mike Petke.

And a few more!

Munroe students practicing head balls! And Bouna getting the Barnum team ready to show some school spirit!

October 29, 2008

SCORES Student Poetry!

America SCORES Denver students have been writing some GREAT poetry this season! Here are two SCORES specific acrostics written by girls from Cowell Elementary...

Ready for a game
Everyone works for the team
Soccer girls rule!
-Macey, Cowell Elementary


Super fun
Ready to play
Every game is fun
So cool!
-Jovana, Cowell Elementary

Stay tuned for more poetry to come!

October 28, 2008

Keeping Perspective...

Winning is Great, but it’s Not the Goal!
Pam Richmond Champagne, MCC, The Sports Parenting Coach

Recently the parent of an aspiring athlete told me it seemed “almost un-American” to say winning is not the goal. In fact, many would say we compete in a “win-at-all-costs” environment. Is this helping or hurting our kids’ performances and lives? Naturally we all prefer to win, but this is a critical distinction: winning is a byproduct or a consequence, not a goal.

Paradoxically you increase your odds of winning when you place 100% attention, not on winning, but on the process –
the learning and development, the continual movement toward mastery. During competition this means having a moment-to-moment, concentrated focus on executing skills and maintaining a positive attitude.
John Naber, a four-time Olympic gold medalist in swimming, exemplifies this vital concept. He shares, “My goal was never to win a race. My goal was to be the best I could be that day.” Disturbing news stories and studies show a focus on winning can produce un-sportsmanlike behavior, outright dishonesty, and unethical use of dangerous drugs.

Focusing on the outcome also
decreases performance. It leads the performer away from the power of the present moment and creates performance-lowering tension by putting attention on something not under a player’s direct control. I vividly recall one of my tennis matches that is a perfect illustration. In a close three-set final, I was just one game away from winning my match when all of my attention went to the outcome –winning the tournament. My strokes fell apart, I made a series of dumb errors, and the championship title slipped away.

As a parent you can help your child stay focused on the process.
How? Be interested in what she’s learning about herself and what skills she’s developing. Find out what he enjoys about his sport. Most importantly, model this process orientation for your child. You certainly don’t have direct control over how well your athlete performs, but you do have control over how calm you are, during and after your child’s performance, what you say, and how encouraging you are. Next time you find yourself getting frustrated or annoyed at your child’s performance, ask yourself, what am I trying to control that I don’t have control over? Then zero in on what you can control. And remind yourself the winning focus is on the learning and the fun!

Pam’s Point: There’s a huge gap between loving to win and having to win, between
competing to do our best and competing to be “the best

(This Article and others like it can be viewed at, in the "Ask Karl" section.)

October 23, 2008

Helpful Resources for Parents...

Children face disappointment an average of 27 times per day (
Playing sports and learning to work with others presents kids with daily opportunities to face differing types of adversity.

As parents and coaches, it can sometimes be tough to know what to say or do for kids when tough things happen in their lives. Here are some books that could be of valuable resource:

The Double Goal Coach- By Jim Thompson (Founder, Positive Coaching Aliance)

Positive Coaching: Building Character and Self Esteem Through Sports - By Jim Thompson (Founder, Positive Coaching Alliance)

Shooting in the Dark: Tales of Coaching and Leadership- By Jim Thompson (Founder, Positive Coaching Alliance)

Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Lives of Adolescent Girls- By Mary Pipher

101 Ways to be a Terrific Sports Parent- Joel Fish

Feeding the Young Athlete: Sports Nutrition Made Easy for Players and Parents- By Cynthia Lair

Raise a Team Player: Teaching Kids Lasting Values on the Field, on the Court, and on the Bench- By Harry Sheehy, Dan Peary, and Joe Torre

The Baffled Parents Guide to Coaching Youth Soccer- By Bobby Clark

Friday Night Lights: A Town, A Team, and A Dream- By H.G. Bissinger

Season of Life- By Jeffrey Marx

Real Boys: Rescuing Our Sons from the Myths of Boyhood- By William Pollack

(List can be found online at

October 21, 2008

Colorado Rapids player appearances this week!

America SCORES Denver students show their excitement (left) at meeting and talking with Colorado Rapids player Conor Casey.

This week, three of our schools will get the chance to have a Colorado Rapids player attend their soccer practices to give tips and answer any questions the kids may have. This is an excellent chance for SCORES students to meet some positive role models with a similar passion for soccer as their own!

Stay tuned for more pictures, as well as informative articles detailing the importance of positive community role models in the lives of our children!

October 17, 2008

Philanthropy News Digest article

Posted on October 8th, 2008 in the online version of Philanthropy News Digest:

Shortfalls in Children's Health Tied to Parents' Income, Education, Report Finds

Substantial shortfalls in the health of children based on family income and education are widespread across the country and in every state, a new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America finds.

The report, America’s Health Starts With Healthy Children: How Do States Compare?, found that 16 percent of children age 17 and younger are in less than optimal health based on their parents’ descriptions — a rate that varies widely across states from a high of 22.8 percent in Texas to a low of 6.9 percent in Vermont. The report also found that some 40 percent of U.S. children live in poor or near-poor households, while 30 percent live in middle-income households.

Nationally and in nearly every state, children in poor families are more likely to be in less than optimal health than children in higher-income families, while in some states children in middle-income families are twice as likely as wealthier children to be in less than optimal health. In Texas, for example, 44 percent of children in poor families are in less than optimal health compared with 6.7 percent of all children in higher-income families.

The report found that one-third of children live in households in which no one has had schooling beyond high school and that children in such households are more than four times as likely to be in less than optimal health as children living with someone who has completed some college. While infant mortality rates are highest among babies born to mothers with no more than twelve years of schooling, the rate for babies born to mothers with thirteen to fifteen years of schooling is 40 percent higher than the rate for babies born to mothers with at least sixteen years.

"All parents want their children to grow up to lead long, healthy lives, but sadly, not all of our children have the same opportunities to reach those goals," said Alice M. Rivlin, co-chair of the commission. "This report shows us just how much a child’s health is shaped by the environment in which he or she lives. We seek to identify ways to narrow these gaps so our nation can put all children on an even path to good health."

Found at:

October 13, 2008


The America SCORES Denver Fall season continues to go well, with the fourth official game day coming up this Friday! Here are just a few poems written by SCORES student-athletes, showing their passion for both writing poetry and soccer...

I Remember…
I remember when I started playing soccer.
I remember when I made my first goal.
I remember when I was goalie.
I remember when I blocked the first ball.
I remember when I blocked a penalty kick!
I remember when I kicked a penalty kick!
I remember when I got hurt in soccer.
I remember when I kicked the ball.
I remember when I juggled the ball.
I remember when I kicked the ball.
-Erick, Barnum Elementary

I Am…

I am a soccer ball I can jump up high.
I’m speeding in the air being kicked by many legs
but the best part in the game is going in the net
and scoring for them and being kicked by the keeper.
-Julian, Barnum Elementary

I Am
I am a soccer ball, here I go SWOOSH!
I am the goal net, BAM I got hurt!
I am a head, BAM I hit the ball!
I am a leg, BAM I kick the ball!
I am a hand , SWOOSH I throw in the ball!
I am a predator, BOOM I kick the ball!
I am a porcupine, BOOM I explode the ball!
I am a devil, a devil that turned into an angel
and makes a goal!
-Diego, Barnum Elementary

The Soccer Ball
La pelota corre rapido
Y mas rapido y todos la patean.
Negro y blanco biste la pelota.
Rapido y mas rapido, despues el ultimo la patea
Y no lo van a creer…da un gol.
-Andre, Knapp Elementary

September 22, 2008

Fall Frenzy 2008 a Success!

In the 9th annual Fall Frenzy held this past Saturday, students from all eight participating Denver Elementary Schools came together for some friendly competition, and a chance to translate their hard work from the classroom and playground practice fields, onto the Regis University facility soccer fields.

The Cowell girl's soccer team, pictured left, demonstrates the support and positive experiences that the values of soccer, writing, and healthy living have on the students both as individuals and together as a team!

Special thanks to all the volunteers who made Fall Frenzy 2008 a success!

September 19, 2008

America SCORES Denver Kicking off Fall Season!

On Saturday, September 20th, SCORES students from eight different Elementary Schools in the Denver area will come together at Regis University, where they will officially begin their fall soccer season in tournament-fashion! With the help of the Women's Soccer Team at Regis, students will alternate between games, book-readings, and other fun activities. The student excitement for soccer and poetry is amazing, so we invite you to come out and see them in action!

Where: Regis University
When: Saturday, September 20th
Time: 9am-noon

August 1, 2008

5th Annual SCORES Corporate CUP

Come Cheer Your Favorite Team to Victory!

America SCORES Denver is pleased to announce our 5th Annual SCORES Cup Soccer Tournament, bringing Denver area companies together for a day of soccer games, friendly competition, networking, and fun. This year, we'll once again be holding the event at the Broomfield County Commons Park. The event features a 7 v. 7 co-ed tournament, a delicious barbecue and post-game party. All proceeds from the tournament will support the 280+ poet-athletes who participate in the America SCORES Denver after-school program. Broomfield County Commons Park; Broomfield, CO 80020: August 9th, 2008 9 am - 4 pm.

July 15, 2008


This summer nearly 300 Denver Public Schools (DPS) students, mainly from low-income or homeless families, are participating in a six-week summer enrichment program called Denver-CAMP. This camp is a collaborative effort between DPS and 22 local nonprofit agencies, and students participate free of charge.

DPS and the Denver Quality After-School Connection (DQUAC), a coalition of organizations working together to increase the quality of out-of-school programs in Denver, have combined their resources to host this camp for the second year. This year, the program expanded to two sites, and the Rachel B. Noel Middle site is where SCORES is hosting both soccer and arts/enrichment activities.

This is the last week of CAMP, and all reports have been positive. Our soccer coaches report that it is quite different to work with kids in the summer heat we have been experiencing, but that their co-ed group of twenty students has been doing great with scrimmaging and skill-building. Among other projects our arts/enrichment teachers created a fireworks-themed visual art project the week of the fourth of July. This week the students in the soccer sessions will go home with their very own soccer balls, and students in our arts sessions will be able to take home all the various projects they have created.

July 10, 2008

Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs for Kids

This has been all over the news this week, this article from, "The Oregonian," gives a clear summation:

"The nation's pediatricians are calling for wider use of cholesterol-lowering drugs in children -- the latest troubling sign of the obesity epidemic. Guidelines published this week by the American Academy of Pediatrics advocate the use of statins and other cholesterol-lowering drugs in kids as young as 8. ...Since 1998, when the previous guidelines were published, the number of overweight and obese children has soared. ...[S]tudies have revealed that atherosclerosis, the clogging and hardening of arteries, can start during grade-school years in those with high cholesterol.

"The more evidence we accumulate, the more it's clear the process does begin in childhood," said Dr. Stephen Daniels of the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine, lead author of the guidelines. [T]he guidelines call for the use [of these drugs] only in kids with severe high cholesterol who make no progress with diet and exercise."


July 3, 2008

Munroe Elementary's Watermelon Poem

This poem, written collaboratively by our teams at Munroe Elementary (see picture), seems particularly perfect for a hot Fourth of July weekend!


Green outsides pink inside
With black dots reddish pinkish
big like an oval slippery, juicy
like a giant green sometimes
it has white lines around it
squishy if it’s hard it’s good
tastes like juice tastes like candy
tastes fresh drips down your chin
the water runs down your clothes

Children In Poverty: The Colorado Paradox

The following summary about the state of child poverty in Colorado appeared in the NY Times last month.

"Colorado...experienced the nation's largest jump in the rate of children in poverty -- 73 percent -- from 2000 and 2006. The study cited a rise in the number of single-parent households, a shortage of jobs for lower wage workers in Colorado and a low high school graduation rate as factors."

In other reports, I have heard of single-moms living on seven-thousand dollars per year in our state. In families living at or below the poverty level there is no way to pay for things like after school programming. And children living in neighborhoods that a family with 7K per year can afford, are those who most need a safe place to be until their families get home from work.

This is why our program exists, and with the continued rise of child poverty in our state, why we must continue to exist. This is why we charge students a minimal fee to participate, and why we scholarship any child that cannot afford the $15 fee.

Children in our program are safe, and well-fed after school. The activities they participate in, created to inspire youth to lead healthy lifestyles, be engaged students, and become agents of change in their communities, are steps toward reversing this negative trend.

June 9, 2008

Support From Post News Charities

Last Thursday, America SCORES Denver was awarded a grant and support from Post News Charities. Selected with only six other organizations working with youth in Denver (including Arts Streets; The Symphony; The Performing Arts Center; The Butterfly Pavilion; the DPS Foundation; & CO Mental Health) we are thrilled to have the newspaper's support.

Alongwith the presentation of the awards there was a lovely luncheon with a number of the top officials in the company as well as members of the community giving department. During the luncheon as each of the organizations summed up the programs they offered, we were honored to have Kristin Stork, the Community Relations Manager, read the following poem by one of our talented SCORES poet-athletes.

How I Like To Write

I like to write when there's music
I like to write when nobody is with me
I like to write when I'm in my room
I like to write when my dog is around
Licking my face.
When I write and I'm angry
I let it all out and if I'm happy
I write about things that are happy to me.
I write outside so I can write how beautiful it is outside and I can write
things that are out there that are so interesting.

June 3, 2008

Childhood Obesity Numbers

A recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association has everyone talking about the Childhood Obesity epidemic. The study, "concluded that childhood obesity hit a plateau from 1999 to 2006," (NY Times). It is too soon to tell (a mere two years out) if this will be a full-fledged plateau, or merely a dip in a longer-term spike. But levelling off or not, 32% of young americans are currently overweight or obese (NY Times).

America SCORES Denver & other programs that get students active in the after-school hours can act as powerful buffers against this issue facing our youth.

The authors of a study on childhood obesity conducted through Yale University concluded that participation in after school may help in controlling childhood obesity for three reasons. “First…much of a child’s overeating & related sedentary behavior (e.g., watching television) occurs during non-school hours…. Second, children experience high levels of enjoyment when participating in after school activities. Compared to obesity reduction approaches that emphasize passive health education or require children to give up negative habits concerning food & activity choices, after school programs…may be more palatable.” Our program makes fitness & healthy choices way more than just palatable. Students in our program move toward fitness because they love what they are doing --playing.
End Of Spring Season '08

The SCORES Jamboree brought together teams from each of our eight schools for a round-robin soccer tournament. Over three-hundred students and supporters gathered together for this annual festival of fun!