This post is sponsored by Toyota’s philanthropy program 100 Cars for Good.

This month, I’m excited to be highlighting five unique charitable organizations that are making a difference in their community. Each charity was also the recipient of a new car to aid in their mission, courtesy of Toyota’s 100 Cars for Good program. (Know a charity that could use a car? You can vote for them at Toyota’s 100 Cars for Good Facebook App.
Today, I’m talking with the good folks from DC Scores.

Tell me about what your charity does, and who it serves?

For people who believe in a well-rounded childhood, DC SCORES has a quality, team-based approach providing youth with the arts, athletics, and academics that will engage, enrich, and improve their lives. DC SCORES builds teams through after-school programs for 1,500 low-income DC youth at 47 schools by instilling self-expression, physical fitness, and a sense of community. DC SCORES accomplishes this in an innovative model combining poetry and spoken word, soccer, and service-learning year-round. We have worked with over 8,000 students since our founding in 1994 and we aim to serve EVERY child in the District deserving of a team who does not have one. DC SCORES is an affiliate of America SCORES, with organizations in 13 cities.

Our holistic after-school program helps DC SCORES students improve their fitness levels by playing soccer; develop their literacy skills and capacity for self-expression by writing poetry; and establish deep community connections through service projects; all while developing closer bonds with teachers and peers. Our program follows a school-based model for after-school programming by hiring and training teachers (called our “SCORE Corps” coaches) from each school. Coaches guide students through the writing and soccer curriculum, which includes academic enrichment modules, health and nutrition lessons, service learning project planning templates, and readily usable soccer practice plans that incorporate team building and leadership activities.


How was the charity founded and why was it important to the founder?
Julie Kennedy, a former teacher at Marie Reed Learning Center in Adams Morgan, invented this complementary combination of activities in 1994 when she began working with a group of 15 girls with little to do after school. Ms. Kennedy learned that the team-centered relationships built on the soccer field translated into poetry workshops, and the development of teamwork and leadership prepared students to act as agents of change in their communities through service-learning projects.


What are some accomplishments you would like to share from the past few years? What are some goals you have for the future?
Phase one: Thanks to an exclusive matching grant, DC SCORES was able to reach out to an unprecedented number of waitlist schools this year, and has grown from serving 800 students to serving 1,450 in fall 2012. Our waitlist underscores the glaring need for enrichment opportunities for low-income youth. DC SCORES was able to reach out to an unprecedented number of waitlist schools this year, and has grown from serving 800 students to serving 1,450. For the 2012-2013 school year, DC SCORES is partnering with 42 elementary and middle public and public charter schools in each of the city’s eight wards.

In 2013, DC SCORES expanded dramatically as a part of the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s Soccer for Success program. DC SCORES was one of only 13 groups across the country to receive this Social Innovation Fund (SIF), two-year, $200,000 expansion grant.


Phase two: In 2013 and beyond, we will sustain our growth and expand to serve older youth.
Serve 2,000 students (between regular program and older youth program) by 2016

Which Toyota car did you choose? On a typical day, how do you use it? How has winning the Toyota Cars for Good impacted your organization? Can you share a story of how the car has made a difference?


We use the Toyota Sienna to carry goals field paint, and writing supplies to schools in all 8 wards of Washington DC. That mobility was crucial to our capacity growth over the past 18 months.

This post is sponsored by Toyota’s philanthropy program 100 Cars for Good. Starting October 1 and ending November 19, do your own good deed by voting for your favorite organizations and causes on the 100 Cars for Good Facebook App.