April 29, 2009

The Big Apple, New Friends, and New York Pizza!

On Monday, April 20th two of our poet-athletes represented Denver in the National Poetry Slam in New York hosted by the New York Stock Exchange. Fidel and Nayeli had a busy but fun weekend in New York accompany by their coaches, Chris and Amy. They arrived in New York on Saturday afternoon and were quickly greeted by the other SCORES students from across the country participating in the National Slam. They spent the rest of the day making new friends and eating New York style pizza!

On Sunday the students had a dress rehearsal at the YMCA in Harlem and enjoyed playing a soccer game in Central Park! Later that day some students, with their chaperones, took a tour of the city and visited Times Square, the Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall, NBC Studios, the Chrysler building, and Grand Central Station.

On Monday, the day of the Poetry Slam, the students took a tour of the Statue of Liberty and walked around Liberty Island. After a couple more dress rehearsals, management at the New York Stock Exchange, invited some students up to assist in ringing the New York Stock exchange closing bell! It was televised live on national television and our Fidel was one of the students chosen to stand on the balcony to ring the bell! Click here to see SCORES students close the NYSE. Later that evening the National Poetry Slam took place and 28 students from 14 cities dazzled the crowd with the emotion they put into performing their poetry. It was a fun and exciting weekend for all the students and chaperones who attended!

Check out some photos from the weekend. Thanks to Amy Olivas for the photos!

Left: Amy with Nayeli at dinner.
Right: Chris with Fidel at dinner.

Left: SCORES students across the U.S. pose during their performances.
Right: Nayeli in front of Lady Liberty

April 27, 2009

One can learn a few things from the Spartans...

In the April Issue of Responsible Sports the featured article is about determining responsible sports goal. It talks about how one can turn a bad experience into a positive goal for the future. For the complete article with pdf files please click here.

In the post-game interviews of the 2009 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship title round, Michigan State freshman Delvon Roe was asked about the defeat and watching the Tarheels celebrate. "Absolutely this is going to motivate us," he responded. "If we put in the work that we all need to, we'll give ourselves a chance to get back here."

What Roe, Izzo and the rest of the Spartans took away from the game and post-game celebration was not a sense of defeat, but a clearer picture of their future goal. With immense respect for their opponent after a difficult loss, the Spartans didn’t begrudge the Tarheels their celebration. Instead they saw it as a visualization exercise of what it will look like when they are the ones celebrating.

It was an example in goal setting that translates well to our kids and youth sports. And it’s about more than just winning.

These days when you hear the phrase “goal oriented” you might think of the latest version of your resume or your kids’ latest report card. For the team at Responsible Sports, determining your kids’ goals in sports comes to mind.

The experts at Positive Coaching Alliance remind us, “the life lessons portion of sports start when parents get on the same page with their kids.” Stop and think for a moment: what are your goals for your kids this year in sports? Improving their skills and becoming a better athlete? Learning to play a new sport? Winning? Gaining self-confidence? Improving their physical fitness? Make new friends and have some fun? All of these? How would you rank them from 1 to 10?

And then consider – what are your kids’ objectives in sports? Do you know? Have you and your athlete sat down to talk about their expectations? Some parents might be surprised to hear that their kids’ goals are different from their goals for their kids. Or that they are in a very different order of priority and interest. By talking together about these goals, parents and athletes work together to prioritize what it is they would like to get out of sports – a good reminder that we can’t do it all. It also helps remind us of the importance of character-building in sports. If we find we don’t have this element on our lists, it’s a chance to reflect and add it back in there. And it also gives us another opportunity to talk to and really partner with our kids, both working towards the same purpose.

Coach Izzo and his players used defeat to help crystallize their goals for next season. And notice that players like Roe are not only focused on winning the Championship next year, but also on the hard work and focus they will put in place next season to achieve those aspirations. Coach Izzo turned a difficult situation into an extremely positive and motivating experience for his players – not out of bitterness, but out of passion for the game, their program and their school.

Think about how we as Responsible Sport Parents and Responsible Coaches can help our kids set and achieve their goals in youth sports. How we can facilitate that conversation at home as well as on the field, ice or court.

April 21, 2009

Earth Day!

In honor of tomorrow (Wednesday) being Earth Day, I thought it would be appropriate to give a little history on Earth Day.

The idea of Earth Day was a seven year long process, that began back in 1962 through the campaigning of Senator Gaylord Nelson. He was disturbed that the state of the enviroment was an non-issue and he convinced President Kennedy to go on a national conservation tour to bring awareness to the issue. The first Earth Day was implemented on April 22, 1970 and was a huge succes due to the grassroot initative that was taken by the country. There was 20 million demonstrators and thousands of schools and local communities that participated.

What can you do?

- Inform your children/students on the importance of taking care of the environment.

- Conserve Energy

  • turn off appliances and lights when you leave the room
  • use a programmable thermostat to save on heating and cooling costs when you are not home
  • replace incandescent light bulbs with ENERGY STAR qualified compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL). If every household in the U.S. replaced one light bulb with a CFL, it would prevent enough pollution to equal removing one million cars from the road.

- Use less water

  • Wash only full loads of laundry
  • Take short showers instead of taking a bath
  • Water lawn or garden during the coolest part of the day. Keeps the water from evaporating

- Reduce/Reuse/Recycle

- Here is a link from the US Government that gives more ways you can create a healthier environment: http://www.earthday.gov/

- Here is another link from the US Environmental Protection Agency, that gives ways to reduce your environmental impact on your everyday activities: http://www.epa.gov/epahome/home.htm

April 16, 2009

New York, New York

Please meet Nayeli, from Barnum Elementary, our second poet-athlete that will be flown to New York for the National Poetry Slam on Monday, April 20th.

Q: Tell us about your family and what makes them unique?
A:My family consists of my mom, dad, older sister Karla, and younger sister Anhaei. Our parents let us be who we are and support our uniqueness.

Q: What are your hobbies and interest?
A: I like to play soccer, I am into drama and art, and I like being creative. I really enjoy creative writing because it allows me to have my own style and I like being a little different. I love to dance and have been on my school's dance club for three years. I am also a good story teller.

Q: Tell us your favorite memory about SCORES.
I love the Fall Jamboree and Spring Frenzy because we are all together as a team, cheering each other on. And of course, the poetry slam because I love to perform and every year we try to come up with a different performance. I was very proud of my team this year!

Q: Who inspires you and helps you? How?
A: My teacher, Ms. Olivas. She is always there for me, she believes in me, and really cares about me.

Q: What do you hope to do in New York?
A: Just enjoy every moment and meet new friends from across the country. And visit places that I probably would not have been able to see without this opportunity.

Q: Why do you love poetry?
A: I am able to be creative and there is no right or wrong way to express myself.

Q: What is your favorite subject?
A: writing and art

Q: What is your favorite food?
A: Steak, yum!

Q: What is your favorite book?
A: I have a ton of favorites, but I really enjoy A Child Called It.

Q: Who are your favorite poets?
A: Jack Pretlusky and Shel Silverstein

Q: Place to have fun or relax?
A: The beach or the amusement park.

April 14, 2009

The Big Apple Showdown!

We are excited to announce that two of our poet-athletes will be flown to New York for the National Poetry Slam on Monday, April 20th! Please meet Fidel from Eagleton Elementary. On Thursday information about the other poet-athlete going to New York will be posted.

Q: What makes your family unique?
A: We listen to each other

Q: What are you hobbies and interests?
A: Soccer, animals, and reggaeton

Q: What is your favorite memory about SCORES?
A: The National Poetry Slam tryouts and winning the trip to New York!

Q: Who inspires you and helps you? How?
A: My family, by being encouraging and telling me "I can do it!"

Q: What do you hope to do in New York?
A: Explore the city!

Q: Why do you love poetry?
A: It allows me to let out my inspirations

Q: What is your favorite subject in school?
A: Math

Q: What is your favorite meal?
A: Beef and french fries

Q: What is your favorite book?
A: Simpsons

Q: Who is your favorite poet?
A: Jack Pretlusky

Q: Who is your favorite athlete?
A: Ronaldinho (plays for the Brazil National Team and Italian Serie A side Milan)

Q: Where do you like to have fun or relax?
A: At the pool!

April 9, 2009

The Red Carpet Poetry Slam on Thursday, April 2nd was a success! The program ran smoothly and all who attended had an enjoyable and relaxing evening!

After a light reception, everyone was ushered into the auditorium for the long awaited performances by our poet-athletes. Attendees watched a video on America SCORES to obtain an overview of the program, then Brandon talked about the program in Denver, and special guest, DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg addressed the crowd on the importance of America SCORES Denver.

Ten of our poet-athletes gave outstanding and animated performances of poetry they had personally written. They did an amazing job at remembering their lines and we are very proud of them! After the students performed, Matt Zambrano, a local poet and actor, gave an impressive slam performance. Then everyone filed out of the auditorium to meet our poet-athletes and receive autographs from them. This was the highlight of our students night!

A special thanks to our sponsors, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Shreck and Bistro Boys Catering; the Denver Newspaper Agency Building for the space; our special guest, DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg; and to everyone that attended and volunteered! We raised approximated $10,000 to put towards programming! Once again a HUGE thanks to everyone that was involved to make this event the success that it was!

Check out some photos from the evening!

Left: Attendees mingling in the reception area.
Right: DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg addresses the crowd.

Left: Fidel from Eagleton Elementary and Right: Nayeli from Barnum Elementary, will both be heading to New York for the National Poetry Slam on April 20th!

Left: Matt Zambrano gives an impressive Slam performance!
Right: Poet-athletes give Colorado Rapids forward, Conor Casey, their autographs!

April 7, 2009

Game Time! Come check out a game!

Below is the soccer schedule for the last 4 games. Stop by and see how all the hard work by our students has paid off!

Week 2: Friday, April 10, 2009

3:30 - Eagleton at Cheltenham

3:30 - Newlon at Monroe

4:15 - Knapp at Cowell

4:15 - Valdez at Barnum

Week 3: Friday, April 24, 2009

3:30 - Cheltenham at Munroe

3:30 - Barnum at Newlon

4:15 - Cowell at Valdez

4:15 - Eagleton at Knapp

Week 4: Friday, May 8, 2009

3:30 - Munroe at Barnum

3:30 - Cheltenham at Cowell

4:15 - Knapp at Newlon

4:15 - Valdez at Eagleton

Week 5: Friday, May 15, 2009

3:30 - Barnum at Eagleton

3:30 - Munroe at Cowell

4:15 - Newlon at Valdez

4:15 - Knapp at Cheltenham

April 3, 2009

Let the Games Begin!

Today we started our first Friday game. Fortunately for us the buses came through and the rain held off! The poet-athletes have been anticipating game day for the past couple of weeks and their hard work and practice paid off! Check out some photos from the game at Valdez against Munroe.

April 1, 2009

Who Polluted the South Platte?

Each spring our SCORES participants learn about what a community is and come up with service projects to do throughout the 10 weeks.

On Tuesday the boy's and girl's teams at Valdez Elementary were fortunate enough to enjoy an interactive presentation from Environmental Learnings For Kids, on "Who polluted the S. Platte River."

The children first learned a little bit about the Platte River. The Platte River begins in the mountains in Vail, CO. It runs east to Denver, through the Plains and empties into the Missouri River, which eventually runs into the Mississippi River which then empties into the Gulf of Mexico. This chain of rivers is important for the students to know how pollution at the beginning of the Platte River can impact the water quality all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.

The students went through a 19 character reading that descibes how different situations by different groups of people have caused pollution in the Platte River. Through the reading they learned some valuable lessons on how to be environmental friendly. Some of the characters were hikers and rafters who left behind trash/food after eating, while others were the four wheeler driver and the neighbor whose leaks in their vechicles lead to motor oil and antifreeze mixing into the river.

Another was the angular (fisherman) whose line broke while fishing. During this character reading the students learned that emptying extra live bait into the water after fishing is actually harmful to the enviroment since the worms are unnatural and can illness to fish that eat them. There was also a reading on a truck owner who washed his car at home. The water, soap, dirt from the truck runs into the storm drain which then can then leak into other water sources. The environmental lesson from this character was that it is safer for the environment to wash your vechicle at a car wash because most car washes' drains go to a treatment center to be cleaned or they clean the water themselves and reuse it.

The picture on the left shows what the water looked like before the characters started polluting and the the photo on the right shows what the water looks like after the 19th (last) character went. The leader then explained to the students that is what the water looks like after 19 people and that there are 3 million people in Denver. The students were also told that by the time the water reaches the Gulf of Mexico it has been cleaned 50 to 60 times! It really makes you think about what you can do to become more environmentally friendly. It definitely made the students think!

For more information on Environmental Learning for Kids, please click here.