I was on the telephone recently with my hero Keith Gordon, the president and chief executive officer of Fight for Children. We were discussing his organization’s updated strategic plan which centers on “providing at-risk children in Washington, DC with access to high quality youth sports opportunities.” He explained to me that as a result of kids being engaged in strong athletic programs they are active, develop socially and emotionally, perform better academically in school, and are prepared for future success. When I asked Mr. Gordon to provide me with an example of a non-profit in the city that is now doing this well he pointed to D.C. SCORES.
A few weeks after our conversation an invitation arrived for the One Night One Goal Gala being held by D.C. SCORES on October 4th from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Audi Field. For those of you, like me, who are not familiar with this group, D.C. SCORES runs a public soccer league in the nation’s capital for elementary and middle school students in the fall and spring. The sports program incorporates poetry, in which students learn to write and perform and which culminates in a Poetry Slam, and a 12-week service learning project aimed at improving the local community. From information on its website I can see that many of the coaches, who come primarily from the schools involved in the soccer teams, become mentors to the participating children.
Begun in 1994, it now reaches 12 cities in the United States in Canada through its affiliate America SCORES.
Here is how D.C. SCORES describes the upcoming celebration:
“Guests attending One Night One Goal will mingle in Audi Field’s EagleBank Club and VIP suites, take photos on the bench, and even tour the team’s locker room. The auction will feature additional unique experiences, including a lease for an Audi R8, a broadcast booth visit with Dave Johnson (who will also host the auction), a gallery tour and original painting by D.C. United Coach Ben Olsen, an opportunity to be a producer and featured in an upcoming soccer movie, an owner’s box game-day experience with D.C. United owner Jason Levien, and more. The event will be deeply interactive, with entertainment including contests, photo booths, a DJ, performances from DC SCORES’ poet-athletes, FIFA games with D.C. United stars, and more. DC SCORES Executive Director Bethany Rubin Henderson said, “DC SCORES is all about fun. We don’t do boring buttoned-up galas. This event will bring together the District to party and enjoy Audi Field, while benefitting our 3,000 poet-athletes – but most of all, it will be fun!”
A couple of other details about this evening caught my attention. Food and drink will be offered by Chef Jose Andres’ ThinkFoodGroup. In addition, on the host committee is another of my heroes, Katherine Bradley, the founding chair of CityBridge Education.
It appears like this will be a spectacular evening at the brand-new home of D.C. United.