Congratulations to the Class of 2018!

Every single one of our seniors has fought through their own personal struggles in order to hold a sealed envelope, telling them their hard work has paid off and they’re about to begin the next journey in their lives. Each student has left their mark on SBU and has worked hard to pave the way for the next group of graduates. We would like to take the time to recognize the students who have put in the effort to become changemakers and leaders of their community. Regardless of where they end up in the next four years, regardless of the new people they will meet, the new experiences they will have, and the new challenges they will face, we hope they remember that they will always remain a part of the SBU family and their legacies and stories will continue to be shared here at SBU.

The Class of 2018 graduates, listed with their college destination, each provided a message to next year’s Class of 2019:

Issac Amoako, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Rockshell Antwi, Wofford College “Everyone, as in players at SBU, joined for just one purpose, which is to bring out the very best out of themselves. You have to push harder in order to get what you are looking for after you graduate. The objective you set shouldn’t change.”

David Balderas, Purchase College “Always remember you have a home in SBU and they will guide you through. I know by experience that tutoring can be a handful, but TRUST ME, it is worth it. It helps you in so many ways it is hard to explain. College, though, is not the ending, it is just the beginning.”

Andrea Betoglio, Mercersburg Academy (Post-Graduate Year) “Senior year will be the hardest moment of your life. Make sure your time management is very organized. Always remember that tutoring will be beneficial and it will help you 100 times more than your actual school. The application process will be a ton of work, but it will be done before you know it. Even though it is your last and hardest year of high school, do not forget to have fun and live your final year as you should.”

Edgar Camero, Monroe College “Do not panic when you see how long the college applications are, just know you will get through it because you will always have help around you. You guys are going to have to put extra effort in everything you’re doing towards the college application. Senior year is no joke because it will come to an end faster than you think. You guys will face rejections from colleges, but that is why you are doing more than one college application so you can have many backups, so don’t put your heads down if you get knocked down.”

Teofilo Chavez, Morrisville State College “This is your last year of high school and my advice for you is to finish strong. Also, make good use of the SBU program because what they offer won’t be found at other clubs. From my experience at SBU, I can say that it’s the best soccer club because SBU focuses also on academics, like college tours and advising and college applications. This year you will have an amazing college advisor with the best tutors.”

Freddy Flores, LaGuardia Community College “At times, it’s going to be irritating because you have to be coming here on Monday and Wednesday and you have to finish all your work and finish all your college applications. Just keep it going and don’t give up.  Like, these tutors are here to help you and are taking their time to be here for you.”

Parvenu Kimpolo, Saint Peters University  “College might be the next step of your life, but make sure that you finish high school strong to start big. On that being said, you should take all the opportunities thrown your way. Apply to as many colleges and scholarships as possible and you won’t regret it a bit in the end.”

Jallah Konneh, Monroe College“Don’t let anything or anyone distract you from accomplishing your goals. At the end of the day, you are your own man and you make your own decisions. Stay focused and work hard then your dreams and goals will become true. Just want it as much as you want to breathe whether it’s graduating or becoming successful in life. A wise friend once told me that ambition goes a long way!!!”

Kalifa Kouyate, Morrisville State College “This program is really good, take advantage of it. I was playing at another club before I came to SBU and they did not have a great program like SBU does. They do not help you with college applications nor school work. All I got to say is take advantage of your opportunities.”

Hans Mensah, Morrisville State College “Becoming a senior brings a lot of responsibility and commitment. All in all, you should bring your “A” game at all times. Here are some things to remember: 1.) Be on time. 2.) Answer Jessica’s texts on time. 3.) Be ready to write, like, 20 essays. 4.) Don’t talk back or try to get into an argument with her or anyone. 5.) Be respectful of your teammates on both the field and in tutoring. 6.) Have a valid reason to miss tutoring. “I don’t wanna come” is invalid. 7.) Be positive and open. 8.) Be respectful to the tutors and any adult.”

Nancy Ordaz, College of Staten Island “Take advantage of the help you will be getting here in tutoring with SBU because they would always be here to guide you into the right college for you. The advice I would like to give to you is to always stay up to date on your college application deadlines. Enjoy your senior year because the next steps of your life would be a very important and a completely different experience than anything before.”

Keyla Pena, Bloomfield College “Make yourselves open to information. The club will guide you through the entire process but you must make sure that you put in an effort as well and meet them in the middle. Along with that, you must make sure that you take care of your responsibility. Last, but not least, you must remember to have fun as well, this will be your last year of high school.”

Miriam Tepale, Borough of Manhattan Community College “Enjoy every step of the way because once you realize that senior year is close to finishing, you’ll then want to stay, like I do, because I know that when going off to college I’ll be a mess without my mentor’s help. Don’t worry, just enjoy and cherish every step of your life, meanwhile, in South Bronx United, everyone is here to help.”

Francisco Uzhca, Borough of Manhattan Community College  “Seniors, make the best decision for college and to decide your best and never give up on your dreams, always be hungry on achieving your dreams.”

Dominic WrightBinghamton University “SENIOR YEAR IS NOT ABOUT ACADEMICS. It is about adjusting to growing up. Finding yourself. Learning about who you are, what you are good at, what you are not good at. Learning life skills. It will be stressful but it’s all part of growing up. EVERYONE feels the same way whether they voice it or not, so don’t stress too much. There is no try, there is only success or failure. BUT don’t be afraid of failing, don’t be afraid of putting yourself out there and taking risks, making decisions on your own, learning to figure things out for yourself. Plus, you are all in safe hands here at SBU.”

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Best of Both Worlds

Before an athlete, I’ve always been primarily a student. I was raised in a household in which education was seen as the catalyst to propel me to success. My mother worked two jobs while simultaneously attending school after her arrival in the United States. In the hopes of assuring a greater future for her child, my mother sacrificed her aspirations to bring me to the United States.

In the summer of 2010, I arrived in the United States with a curious mind and a brave heart. My mother enrolled me in a public school in the Bronx. The American education system was in no doubt superior to what I received back in Senegal. I was challenged to learn in the classroom in a foreign language, forced to speak English in discomfort to my peers and my teachers. However, I took on this obstacle with open arms. Within three months, I was able to communicate fluently in English with a heavy African accent.

Despite my improvements in school and the better education, I was limited to exploring my full identity. Playing soccer was part of my identity. Since a young age, I had a great passion for the beautiful game. I grew up playing on the concrete streets of Dakar. I spent hours upon hours at a time maneuvering ways to create a soccer ball from rocks to bottles to bottle caps. My imagination was limitless when trying to bring the game to life. I come from a place where kids took old shirts to draw their names and numbers on the back just to have a sense of individuality. Where kids took big rocks or old shoes to be used for goal posts, where the concrete streets were seen as a stadium. This was all done to mimic what we’ve seen on television.

As a country, I was aware that the United States was not a soccer country. There was a lack of interest in the sport from my friends at the school I attended. Although I was getting a better education by moving to the United States, I lost soccer my chance to explore my passion for the game.

Thankfully, with two years in the country, I was able to find South Bronx United. SBU was able to fulfill my wish to have the best of both of worlds. I was receiving a better education just as my mom had hoped for and playing soccer. Truthfully, SBU was more than a team I played for. My teammates were a family and each individual a brother. The field we practiced on was a home, a sanctuary from the world outside, from all the external pressures inhibiting our potential.

Minkael is a rising senior at Northfield Mount Hermon, a boarding school in Massachusetts. This is the first blog entry in a series he will share over the next month.

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Women’s Sports Foundation and espnW award South Bronx United with 2018 Sports 4 Life Grant

New York, NY – Today, the Women’s Sports Foundation and espnW, in collaboration with the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, announced South Bronx United as a 2018 recipient of the Sports 4 Life initiative, a national effort to increase the participation and retention of African-American and Hispanic girls in youth sports programs.

Sports 4 Life, cofounded by the Women’s Sports Foundation and espnW in 2014, and supported by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation in regions including Southeast Michigan and Western New York, supports programs that help girls in four foundational areas – leadership, self-esteem, confidence and perseverance – with the expectation that growth in these areas will also support girls’ physical and emotional health and academic success. Recognizing the value of Sports 4 Life, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation joined the initiative this year to provide regional support to eight organizations in Southeast Michigan and Western New York.

“Our vision is that one day, all girls will have the opportunity to reach their full potential through the transformative experience of sports,” said Deborah Antoine, CEO of the Women’s Sports Foundation. “Even more than we believe in the power of sports, the Women’s Sports Foundation believes that all girls – regardless of race, ethnicity, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, ability, zip code or family income – deserve equitable access to the lifelong benefits of sports. We’re proud to team up with espnW and the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation to make that vision a reality.”

“In a few short years of commitment and focused attention, we have seen the tangible positive results that Sports 4 Life has brought to the lives of girls of color across the country,” said Laura Gentile, ESPN senior vice president, espnW and ESPN Business Operations & Content Strategy. “This program demonstrates the universal value and appeal of sports, and it is an integral piece of the espnW mission. We look forward to continuing to empower girls to realize their full potential through sports.”

Since the initiative’s inception in 2014, Sports 4 Life has awarded 200 grants totaling more than $1.1 million and reaching more than 50,000 girls nationally. With WSF’s support, South Bronx United and other community and regional partners have been particularly successful in increasing opportunities for girls of color: more than 85% percent of girl participants identify as African-American or Hispanic.

“South Bronx United is thrilled to be able to partner with the Women’s Sports Foundation again, this time to expand afterschool athletic opportunities for elementary school girls in the South Bronx,” said Andrew So, Executive Director of South Bronx United. “Thanks to the Foundation’s grant, we will be able to launch an afterschool program with Girls Prep Charter School. We will also be training youth leaders in our SBU Academy program to serve as mentors and coaches in these programs, giving the girls positive female role models and empowering future female leaders. The work would not be possible without the support of the Foundation and espnW.”

Meet other 2018 Sport 4 Life grant recipients and learn more about them here.

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2018 #Powerof11 Campaign Kicks Off tomorrow!

Click on the image above to view the #Powerof11 Kick-off Video.

#Powerof11 is 11 days to raise $90,000 for South Bronx and immigrant youth! It is 11 student-athletes working together on the soccer field. 11 seats in the classroom. 11 mentors for at-risk youth. A team of youth from more than 11 different nationalities. This is the #POWEROF11.

On June 1st, 2018, SBU will launch its 2nd Annual #Powerof11 Campaign in which hundreds of grassroots supporters will band together to raise critical fund for SBU’s programs. The fundraisers, or Team Captains as we call them, have all committed to getting at least 11 people to donate at least $11 each. This year, we are hoping to surpass last year’s goal, aiming for $90,000. This goal includes $40,000 matching donations from the William E. Simon Foundation and other generous supporters. As an added bonus, if we reach our goal, we will be on track surpass $1 million in annual funds for the first time. This number alone opens SBU up to new funding and growth opportunities.

Thus far, we have already raised over $12,000 with 76 Team Captains, involving 184 people, and it is only the beginning.

When asked what #Powerof11 means to them, many students gave the same answer: Family. One student, Mohammed Konate said, “I joined SBU when I was 10 years old. My favorite moment in South Bronx United was the time I scored my first goal. It felt like I accomplished something. All my teammates came running towards me and it was the best feeling ever. A season or two later, I won the MVP and Scholar-Athlete awards. I was very happy, and my peers were happy for me.” It is the grateful attitudes like Mohammed’s that encourage SBU to keep on strengthening and expanding its programs, year after year, to guide more students like him.

No matter what their involvement is with SBU, Team Captains always have a wonderful experience. Max Rappaport and Lisa Arnold, who are volunteer coaches share their experiences here:

“We got involved with SBU two years ago because we love soccer and wanted to share the positive impact the game has had on our lives. We were already playing in our own league, but we wanted to do more. When we heard about SBU, we knew it was exactly the kind of organization we wanted to be involved with. The desire to pay it forward is what got us started, but the smiles on our players’ faces every Saturday is what keeps us coming back.

SBU’s mission to engage underprivileged youth through soccer really resonated with us and was an easy sell for the #POWEROF11 campaign. Everyone we’ve spoken to about the organization has jumped at the opportunity to contribute, so our approach has been to reach out to as many people in our network as possible. Our teammates, coworkers, friends, and family have been fantastic in helping us reach our goal, but we’re not done yet!”

The campaign will run until June 11th, raising funds to support the organization’s academic, athletic, mentorship, leadership development, health and wellness promotion, and immigration legal services for South Bronx youth and families. All proceeds will go directly towards SBU sustaining, strengthening, and expanding youth and community programs in the 2018-2019 year.

So, how can you show your support?

Donate Now and help us serve more than 1,200 children and youth this year, and ensure that 100% of SBU Academy students graduate high school and attend college!

SAVE THE DATE: Join SBU Team Captains and supporters for the #POWEROF11 Celebration and USA Watch Party on Sunday, June 17, 1:30pm – 4:30pm at Dewey’s Pub (135 W 30th Street New York, NY 10001)! At 2pm, Brazil will take on Switzerland in a World Cup Match!

Interested in supporting SBU though volunteering, coaching, or interning? Visit the South Bronx United website to learn more about these opportunities or email info@southbronxunited.org.

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Read, Learn, Grow: South Bronx United’s 8th Annual Literacy Day

 

BRONX, NY — On Saturday, May 5th 2018, families and community members came together on the soccer field at Macombs Dam Park to take part of South Bronx United’s 8th Annual Literacy Day. The day is rooted on the three pillars of SBU: academics, leadership and athletics. The day began with coaches for each age group reading featured soccer themed books to their players. SBU Academy youth leaders also helped facilitate reading groups and led discussions after. Reading circles promoted the joy of reading and used soccer stories to illuminate similar themes that are relevant in their own lives. Then, the over 600 youth from SBU’s Recreational Program had the opportunity to take home free books.

This year, featured books included Messi by Steve Herman (Ages6+), Soccer Star by Mina Javaherbin (Ages 8+), Soccer Sisters: Caught Offside by Andrea Montalbano (Ages 11+),
For Soccer-Crazy Girls Only by Erin Downing (Ages 11+), World Soccer Legends by Illugi Jökulsson (Ages 13+), Soccer IQ by Dan Blank (Ages 16+), and Everything Your Coach Never Told you Because You’re a Girl by Dan Blank (Ages 16+). The players enjoyed learning about famous soccer stars like Messi and engaged in thoughtful discussions with coaches and youth leaders after reading.

Author, Andrea Montalbano with Girls U11 teams.

Girls in the U11 Division once again had a special guest appearance by author Andrea Montalbano, who took part in reading circles that featured her book Soccer Sisters: Caught Offside, book #2 in the Soccer Sisters series. Last year, Ms. Montalbano also attended Literacy Day and read an excerpt from the first book: Soccer Sisters: Out of Bounds. Her books touch on topics any young athlete could relate to from team friendships to improving your skills on the field to making difficult life decisions. After reading, the U11 girls each received their own copy, generously donated by Sourcebooks. Ms. Montalbano also shared a brief history about herself and how soccer impacted her life, answered questions and watched their practice. Her books serve as a way to unite girls in sports, but they are also a movement to encourage girls and women to support each other on and off the field. Using social media, Ms. Montalbano started the #Playitforwardproject, a campaign that allows you to capture any random acts of kindness and then challenge friends and family to follow suit with their own kind act by posting a good deed online. To read more about the author, her books and this campaign, visit her website here, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

With over 2,000 books donated by organizations, SBU’s volunteer coaches, parents, and other individuals, students had great options to choose from to continue reading at home and to start to build their own library. Parents were delighted to see their kids so interested in reading because early literacy is linked to academic success and increased opportunities in adulthood.

SBU hopes to inspire kids and parents to make reading a daily part of their lives. Along with their books, students also took home bookmarks and parents took home an informative sheet, noting several local organizations devoted to improving literacy rates in the South Bronx.

 

South Bronx United thanks all the donors and volunteers who helped make the event possible. Book donors included: The Lisa Libraries, Kids Can Press, The Child’s World, Better World Books, Penguin Random House, Coughlan Company -Capstone, Hachette Group USA, Reach Out and Read, Disney Publishing Worldwide, Sourcebooks, Quirk Books, Bloomsbury Publishing, Scarsdale Public Library and many individuals.

Contact info@southbronxunited.org for information on how you can be a part of future events like this.

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South Bronx United receives 2018 Urban Soccer Symposium Impact Award from U.S. Soccer Foundation

SBU Legal Services Coordinator Brendan Davis accepts the US Soccer Foundation's Urban Soccer Symposium Impact Award

SBU Legal Services Coordinator Brendan Davis accepts the US Soccer Foundation’s Urban Soccer Symposium Impact Award

Washington, D.C. – South Bronx United today announced it has been awarded the 2018 Urban Soccer Symposium Impact Award from the U.S. Soccer Foundation, the national model for sports-based youth development programs in underserved communities. This award is given to South Bronx United for using sport to enact measurable and sustainable positive change within an underserved community for at least five years.

“We are honored to be recognized by U.S. Soccer Foundation with this award,” said Executive Director and co-founder Andrew So. “We first started attending the Urban Soccer Symposium eight years ago and I remember feeling overwhelmed with so much to learn and so much to do. It is humbling to be in the position we are in now with this award and where other soccer for social change organizations look to South Bronx United as their model.”

South Bronx United was founded in 2009 and Mr. So and his wife, Steph So. The organization now serves more than 1,100 boys and girls annual between the ages of 4 and 19, who are primarily immigrant or first generation youth. Its core program, the SBU Academy, works with 170 middle and high school students by combining competitive soccer teams with academic enrichment and tutoring, college prep, mentoring, leadership development, immigration legal services, and other individual and family supports. In the past five years, 100 percent of SBU Academy seniors have gone on to graduate high school and 95 percent have enrolled in college. South Bronx United provides services in one of the highest-need districts in the country. According to the United States Census Bureau, the South Bronx has the nation’s highest poverty rate, with 49 percent of children living below the poverty line. Only 51 percent of students graduate high school with state regents diplomas.

This award is a part of the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s Urban Soccer Symposium Awards, which recognize best practices and innovation in the sports-based youth development community and honor the exceptional achievements of organizations and individuals within those communities.

“We are proud to present the second annual Urban Soccer Symposium Awards to the Seattle Housing Authority’s Redevelopment Project, South Bronx United, and Mayor Bill de Blasio for their exceptional achievements in the sports-based youth development community,” said Ed Foster-Simeon, President & CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. “We are delighted to acknowledge some of the best practices in the field and recognize meaningful change and innovation driven by community-based sports initiatives across the country.”

The award was presented during the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s 2018 Urban Soccer Symposium, the nation’s premier event where executive directors, mentors and program administrators learn and exchange best practices in the use of soccer as vehicle for youth development.

About South Bronx United
Founded in 2009, South Bronx United is a 501c3 nonprofit youth development organization. The organization’s mission is to use soccer as a tool for social change. South Bronx United aims to help youth build character, teamwork, and leadership so that they can succeed in high school, college, careers, their community and beyond. South Bronx United strives to promote educational achievement, health and wellness, and character development through activities on and off the soccer field and to unite a diverse group of individuals and an incredibly diverse community toward common positive goals.

South Bronx United Executive Director Andrew So, with SBU student-athletes Jonathan Ciriaco and Alhousseine on a panel at the 2018 Urban Soccer Symposium. Also pictured, performance artist and activist Marc Bamuthi Joseph and moderator Diana Cutaia

South Bronx United Executive Director Andrew So, with SBU student-athletes Jonathan Ciriaco and Alhousseine on a panel at the 2018 Urban Soccer Symposium. Also pictured, performance artist and activist Marc Bamuthi Joseph and moderator Diana Cutaia

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New York Bar Foundation presents South Bronx United with grant for Global Youth League

Immigration Screening

The New York Bar Foundation recently presented a grant of $5,000 to South Bronx United Inc. The grant will be used to support their Global Youth League Immigration Clinics.

“Thanks to the New York Bar Foundation’s support, South Bronx United will be able to expand its immigration clinics for youth and families in the Global Youth League program,” said South Bronx United’s Executive Director, Andrew So. “Our program engages immigrant and first generation youth, including recently-arrived youth and unaccompanied minors, through a common love for soccer while connecting them with immigration relief and legal representation when eligible. This grant will have a significant positive impact on the organization’s ability to deliver these services.”

“The New York Bar Foundation this year allocated nearly $700,000 in grants to 105 programs across New York, and we have nearly doubled the total dollar amount of grants over the past five years,” said Bar Foundation President John H. Gross. “Foundation leadership has worked hard to increase available funds so that we can continue to assist those in need of legal services across New York State and we are pleased that we are able to offer more assistance.”

New York Bar Foundation grants assist in:

  • Increasing public understanding of the law
  • Improving the justice system and the law
  • Facilitating the delivery of legal services
  • Enhancing professional competence and ethics

The New York Bar Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, is the charitable arm of the New York State Bar Association. Established in 1950 The Foundation is dedicated to aiding charitable and educational projects to meet the law-related needs of the public and the legal profession. To learn more about The Foundation and how you can support its programs, go to www.tnybf.org or email Deborah Auspelmyer dauspelmyer@tnybf.org.

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SBU Alumnus Update: Gnim Bazim

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Gnim Bazim (center) with teammates.

Growing up, I always dreamt of attending college to play soccer and become a lawyer to help make a difference in my community. From my very first year of high school, college was something that felt a long time away. But time has quickly passed and I am proud to say that I have completed my very first semester at Kenyon College!

To be completely honest, the beginning of my first semester was rough. It was much harder than I expected. With the academic workload, grueling daily soccer practices and working a campus job, I was not sure I’d make it. Instinctively, I realized I had been through something similar in the past while at South Bronx United and boarding school. As a participant of SBU, I had a lot of commitments in and out of school. SBU taught me how to properly balance my time between school, late soccer practices, volunteering and work.

Through SBU, I was given the chance to attend Mercersburg Academy, a boarding school in Pennsylvania. Being there also taught me several lessons- some similar and some different than SBU. I look at it like this: SBU gave me the tools to succeed at prep school and prep school gave me the tools to eventually succeed at Kenyon College.

So far, my college career has given me even more opportunities to reflect upon my life and the people in it. I appreciate my mother even more for working hard every day so that I could focus on school and soccer. I appreciate the coaches, tutors, mentors and donors of South Bronx United who dedicate their time and effort to getting kids like me off the streets and into great universities. I appreciate Mercersburg Academy for all the friendships and memories I created while there.

Now, when I feel stressed, down, unhappy, or homesick, I think of the people in my life who love me and want nothing but for me to succeed; I think about all my former coaches, tutors, and teachers who helped prepare me for college; I think about what my mother goes through daily and I realized I am not going to college just for myself, but I am also going for the people who helped get me to this point and believed in me.

After the first month of my first semester, I was finally able to adjust to my new college life. I now find enjoyment in my classes, playing soccer and working a campus job. I am very grateful to be where I am today.

To those of you who are a part of South Bronx United, I have a message for YOU! First, appreciate those who work or volunteer to help you be a successful student. The coaches at SBU would love to see you go to a college and continue to play soccer at a higher level. Second, live in the moment. I was in your shoes not too long ago and, even though I have moved on and I am happy, I wish I still had the opportunity to play league games in the city with my brothers. And third, never give up on your dreams, whether its becoming a soccer player, a lawyer, or any other profession.

This dream wouldn’t have been possible without the help of South Bronx United. I am very grateful to have found SBU and to have been a part of a life changing organization.

Written by Gnim Bazim. 

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One Evening, One Huge Impact: The SBU 7th Annual Benefit

benefit 2017

On November 16, 2017 at the Midtown Loft and Terrace, South Bronx United held its 7th Annual Benefit. More than 330 guests attended and the event raised $105,000, making it the organization’s first ever six-figure fundraising event.

The night was hosted by Roger Bennett, best known as the co-host of Men in Blazers with Michael Davies.

Patricof

Bennett shared the stage with the evenings honoree, Jon Patricof, President of New York City FC. Patricof was named president of NYCFC in January of 2016 and recently completed his second successful season with the club. As part of his off-the-field initiative, Patricof and NYCFC has partnered with the New York City Soccer Initiative to build 50 mini soccer pitches in underserved communities throughout the five boroughs, including the South Bronx. Through that initiative, he visited an SBU after school program site to see firsthand South Bronx United programs in action.

2017 honorees

the organization’s 2017 Youth Honoree was South Bronx United Alum, Mohamed Camara (Watch his video). After immigrating to the Bronx at age 13 with his family to escape the civil war in Guinea, Camara joined South Bronx United as a way to feed his passion for soccer and stay busy to overcome the daily challenges of growing up in the Bronx. The 21-year-old junior at Sarah Lawrence College is an Honor Roll student, led the Gryphon’s Men’s Soccer Team in scoring the past two seasons, and was honored by Sarah Lawrence College with the Emerging Leader Award. In 2016, he served as the Youth Leader for the New York City FC’s City in the Community Program and the opportunity to attend the City Football group Global youth Summit in Manchester, England.

Camara, helped onto the stage while on crutches, explained that an injury prevented him from competing this season but he hasn’t slowed down. Upon graduation, this International Relations major wants to attend law school and dreams of working for the United Nations.

The night continued with a silent auction, live auction, live raffle drawing, and call to action for guests to support SBU’s programs for immigrant youth. In his Remarks, Executive Director Andrew So emphasized that the organization’s work has become more important over the past 12 months as their youth and families have become threatened by changes in federal laws and statements from the oval office. He alluded to new federal policies on immigration (particularly DACA and TPS) actions to silence social justice activism on the athletic field, and the end of the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

raffle auction

The night was a success due to guests who believe in the mission of South Bronx United. The funds raised will help South Bronx United continue to promote educational achievement, health and wellness, and character development through activities on and off the soccer field, and provide integral services to immigrant youth and families.

The night’s sponsors included New York City FC, Two Sigma, Bregal Partners, Barclays, The Third Rail, Dos Toros Taqueria, Pimco Foundation, InterFysio, Seat Geek, NYCFC Nation, Ellenoff Grossman Schole LLP, Open Society Foundations, and PJT Partners.

To see more photos from South Bronx United’s 7th Annual Benefit you visit the SBU Supporters Club Facebook page. You can learn more about the SBU Supporters Club at sbusupporters.org.

For more information on South Bronx United, and how you can support our mission, please visit www.southbronxunited.org or call (718) 404-9281.

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Moving and Passing: Soccer, Poetry, and Social Justice collide

rsz_mp2

Performance Artist Marc Bamuthi Joseph partnered with SBU Summer Soccer Scholars program to create Moving and Passing, an intersection of community, education, and art that enabled Bronx youth to explore themes of social justice and immigration through poetry and their passion for soccer. This project was made possible by the Guggenheim Museum Social Practice Initiative.

Joseph’s curriculum was piloted as a five-week course for high school students facilitated by poet and teaching artist Mahogany L. Browne. The curriculum—titled M-PACT—is based on themes borrowed from Joseph’s performance /peh-LO-tah/ and uses art and poetry to focus on contemporary social and political issues. /peh-LO-tah/ shows at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) from October 18th through October 21st.

The artist, students, and teaching artist share reflections on the program in this video.

Students worked either alone or together in groups to create the poems. They chose social and political issues that resonated with their own lives.  Students had the opportunity to use soccer as a metaphor for real world issues and social justice. They skillfully related positions on the soccer field to represent roles in life, like “positions of power and oppression and positions of rebellions and revolution,” says Ms. Browne.

Anyone interested in learning how to bring these ideas and concepts into the lives of more kids should read about the curriculum in the teacher guide for /peh-LO-tah/. It is intended to help students respond to and form their own opinions about the important themes explored in the performance.

South Bronx United thanks the Mahogany L. Browne, Marc Bamuthi Joseph and Guggenheim Museum Social Practice Initiative for making this possible!

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/peh-LO-tah/ creator, Marc Bamuthi Joseph

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Teaching artist, Mohogany Browne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are a few samples of the students’ poems:

Right Back
The right back is like a train track,
It helps the team get back on the attacking map,
They also defend and come quick like the flash.

Center back
Is usually the guardian,
The warrior of the field,
like a soldier in a war ready to give it all.
The man who gives it his all and gets the fans to applaud.

Left forward
The one who runs when long passes are given,
And the one who follows all the shots.
The one who tries to score when they can and
Put the ball in the back of the net.
The hard worker like a single mother.

By: Brisa, Roberto & Johnny

Encouragement

People all over the world sees/know,
about the famous sport
SOCCER!
Not everyone has a chance to achieve there
Dream. But at least everyone has them.
It’s not easy & at least everyone gets to enjoy the sport.

The new generation allows both females and males to
Play, this sport that everyone enjoy. This sport
Brings, Trust, Responsibility, and Family.
Everyone being able to count on one another. This sport seems as
A community to most people.

Everyone has a weakness, and everyone has
Strengths as well. People will try to bring you
Down, hate on you and even try to lower
Your self-esteem.
It’s your job to show them that You’re
The better person and stand up to them.

This sport is not as easy as it seems, as everyone
Continues to play they learn to trust each other as a team. Teammates being As
A new family.
Everything might seem like a really big risk
When achieving something. Some might even say that the
Field is like their home.

By: Amaris Carrillo

soccer IS life

Soccer brings multiple people from around the world together,
It unites different cultures.
90 minutes filled with pure intensity,
Involving trust, faith, and communication.
In an atmosphere full of fans chanting your name,
Louder than a pack of roaring lions.

Once you step onto the pitch all your problems fade away.
Not worrying about anything but the ball.
There will be doubters throughout your journey wanting to see you starve,
There will be rough tackles, wrong decisions, and arguments,
But don’t let any of that get in the way of what you want most.

Prove those people wrong,
Make your people proud,
Because the day you hang your boots up,
Is the day you can say, “You made it.”
With or without motivation.

This all takes place in a stadium filled with fans wearing the team colors,
Chanting and signing,
Waving banners and flags,
Flares and confetti,
All for 90 minutes.
It’s, The beautiful game.

our community
the coach controls the team
he knows what is best
he might start off with a bad line up of defense like the protection system we have in our communities
this sport brings all different kinds of races together
just like our country
who now suffers for the discrimination of social class
coach tries to control the defense and the center mids
defense being the cops in our communities
the goalie being us, who can only use our hands to defend our goal
our goal being our home for many years
trying to protect it from our enemies the upper class
how can we the lower class go against the upper class
our mayor tries to control everyone so everyone may have a benefit

the ones with the most benefit are the forwards
forwards get all the fame from scoring the goal
the landlord gets all the money from scoring the goal on the goalie
who attempts to protect their home
once that goal is scored
they lose their home
the more the rent goes up
the more goals the landlord scores
the upper class the enemies make counter attack from this goal
now having an advantage

we are the goalies
we are the main ones affected by the forwards
the enemies then come to take over our home
where is the coach to help us
you expect us to have great paying jobs
to be able to pay this high rent for this old apartment in the city
you have raised the rent so high so the upper class can move in
now im without a home
well, the rent for this old apartment is too much
it’s a rip off
the government just places more obstacles in our way,
get a good pay job you say!
How?

Its so easy to say
All these amnemities we have in our community
Are horrible and poor
Our education is bad
Our job oppurtunities are affected by it
So you tell me how!

You explain to me how!
What is our coach doing about this problem the goalie has
This field is so big yet so small
Its funny because
There is so much space in the suburbs but out of no where just because they wanna move into the city
Because they have the power they can

Why come take our homes?
The opponents really is counter attacking onto our side of the field
The coach doesn’t give us a plan to counter attack or help us
Even the goalie and the defense don’t get along so well
That’s a problem
This is the reason so many goals are being scored by our opponents

Bye bye goalie you’re moving to another team!

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