The Power of Poetry and Play: A Year in Review

There's still time to support our poet-athletes before year's end. Click here!

Dear America SCORES New York community,

Throughout this year, our team worked by one mantra — safe, supported, connected, and hopeful. Through over 500 program sessions and events, every day was focused on achieving our mission for our poet-athletes, our coaches, and ourselves and that inspiring mantra was a constant.

As the pandemic began to grip our city in early 2020, we shifted quickly towards online programming, ensuring that our students could still use soccer and poetry as a means of coping safely during a difficult time. Throughout almost 1000 hours of virtual programming, their safety remained top of mind and we continued online sessions with the hope of bringing back in-person programming by the time fall returned. Due to the diligence and commitment of our program staff and coaches, we were able to implement Safe Play’ protocols to run outdoor soccer programming alongside virtual sessions.

Although most of our annual events were canceled — Jamboree, SCORES Cup,

Fall Frenzy — the support we’ve received from those who know what it means to leave their passion on the field, their feelings on paper, and their hearts in the community allowed us to continue supporting our young people. We did this by providing 175 SCORES Kits, over $10,000 in meals, and PPE while also retaining all core staff,

each of whom are committed to the wellbeing and growth of our poet-athletes.

You can still provide your support here.

2020 exposed the consequences of youth isolation and we have worked to address this alongside other community-based organizations, emphasizing the importance of remaining connected to the hundreds of young people in our programs and their families. With the increasing visibility surrounding racial injustices across this country compounding the impacts of lockdowns and isolations, it is vital that our students, particularly our Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and all students of color, are given the platform to speak their truth and for that truth to be heard. Through the outlets and platforms provided by 20 poetry open mics nights, 400 soccer workouts, and our Virtual Poetry SLAM, we wanted to ensure our students felt connected to their coaches, to their teammates,

and to themselves and their own voice.

Above all, we wanted our America SCORES New York family to remain hopeful. We’ve learned that, in many ways, hope is participatory — showing up for youth, for our communities, and for each other has kept us hopeful. We’ve realized that the only way to grow with our young people, to grow our organization and, to grow our message

is to simply keep going.

Despite the challenges of 2020, America SCORES New York was recognized for adapting and growing, though not in the ways we had expected. Our mission statement evolved to more accurately reflect our focus on social justice, thanks to input from across the ASNY Family and fully supported by our dedicated Board of Directors. We grew our board and staff, engaging more community leaders to work alongside our poet-athletes. We launched our Committee for Racial Equity and Social Justice, bringing together youth, staff, and board members to ensure that America SCORES New York continues to pursue equity and justice in every aspect of our organization.

And we are committed to pushing forward. Ahead of our 20th Anniversary in 2021, we want to thank you for consistently cheering on our poet-athletes. We’ve been able to work and grow alongside them this year in ways we’ve never done before and we are eager

to begin our third decade in New York City with them continuing to feel

safe, supported, connected, and hopeful.

Support our poet-athletes here through donation or volunteering.

To hope and health,

Shannon Schneeman America SCORES New York Executive Director

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