Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Coach Spotlight: Stacey

Please give a little about your background and how sports played a role in your life.

As a child, I enjoyed playing sportsduring the majority of my free time. Along with my two sisters andparents, I could always be found playing soccer, basketball, volleyball,softball, track or going to a Chicago Fire game, Bulls game, or even making upmy own sports while hanging out with friends. As I got older, I focused myenergy on my true passion, soccer, and played throughout high-school, collegeclub, and it has now led me to being a soccer coach with America SCORESChicago.


I was working in an AmeriCorps role in another non-profit when I first heardabout America SCORES. I had just signed up to run the San Francisco marathonand saw the America SCORES logo with the pencil and soccer ball listed on thecharity partners’ page. I was intrigued and immediately researched furtherinto the organization's mission/vision and program model and knew it would be aperfect fit for me. I was drawn in initially by the writing and soccer(two of my passions) and then felt further connected to SCORES by theirteamwork approach, engaging curriculum, and genuine nature to providing thebest opportunities for Chicago's youth.

Best part about working for SCORES:

The community that SCORES fosters. SCORES is not just a program -- ourstudents, our staff, our coaches, our teachers, parents are all involved inwhat goes on in SCORES and it is such a positive environment. I feelconnected to the schools and the Chicago community in a way I could not ifworking with any other organization. Working with SCORES has given me theopportunity to work with many students, given me the freedom to developdifferent creative and professional skills, and learn each day by working withsuch a diverse group of people. Plus, playing soccer almost everyday is adefinite bonus.

What do you hope to teach the kids you work with?

I hope to teach them to understand their capacity forsuccess, which is dependent on their terms. I want to instill in them theinternal motivation and confidence to set high goals in life and find ways toreach them. I hope to teach them how to be responsible and respectfulcitizens, who are aware of the need for change in this world and have thecourage to act on these needs. Of course, I also hope to teach them to beworld-class soccer players and SLAM poets too :)

What have you learned from the kids you work with?

Overall, I have learned how to look at the world through thekids’ innocent and hopeful lenses. I’ve learned to be fair and to understandtheir diverse needs. I’ve learned to have fun and get excited aboutthings! I am also constantly reminded to understand the complex and uniquestory each child has and brings to program each day and to recognize eachlittle success that is had. I’ve learned that the demands on students aretough, and to listen to what they need, because they are smart! Lastly,I’ve learned to be the best self I can be -- if I want to be successful, I mustmodel the behaviors I want my students to exhibit, and this pushes me to be thebest.

Do have you any positive stories you have working with aparticular kid or group of kids?

This past year was the first year America SCORES began atthe middle school level in the school where I work – Pilsen Elementary. The school is small, with only two 6th grade classes and one 7th grade class. Iwas struggling to find students to be on the team. After talking to her classand with some additional follow-up, Melissa, in 6th grade, finallydecided to join the team. Since then, she has grown to be one of thestrongest, involved, and dedicated members of the team. She went from having noexperience with the group to stepping up and becoming a team captain, a memberof the all-star team, and a volunteer assistant coach with the Junior SCORESK-2nd grade program. It has been wonderful to watch her take charge andpursue leadership and growth opportunities and be a positive example to therest of the team.

As Pilsen Junior SCORES has justconcluded – what was your Favorite Tots moment:

Coaching writing and soccer in the Junior SCORES kindergarten - 2nd gradeprogram has undoubtedly been one of the highlights while working at AmericaSCORES. From the enthusiastic energy they have to the hilarious commentsthey make, each day was a memorable and rewarding experience. Oneparticular moment I have treasured is the day we created a team poem together-- "Yesterday I went to the moon. I ate an apple and it got stuck in myteeth. Then I went to go see the movie, Star Wars and after that Iwent to see Journey 2. Then I ate 300 hot dogs, fries, and pizza and wentto go see Breaking Dawn. Then Pilsen Dynamite went to fly andwe played soccer and respected each other on the field. After thegame we met Spongebob and Patrick!"

Stacey is currently coaching theJunior SCORES writing team at our newest addition - Phoebe A. Hearst Fine Arts Magnet School.When she’s not busy coaching writing and soccer she finds time to dominate onthe field as well:

Stacey (top row) was an integral member of the SCORES team that tookhome the Live to Support Chicago indoor soccer league championship and the $500award to help support SCORES Chicago.

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