Every year, South Bronx United engages students in a five-week summer program. The SBU Summer Soccer Scholars program gives students the change to exercise their brains and bodies while providing new opportunities and activities around the greater metropolitan area. This year’s program focused on migration, and the projects the students carried out centered around communities, immigrants, and movement. 80 students between the 6th and 11th grades participated in this year’s program. From 9 am to 12:00 students could be found in Math, Humanities, Art, or Life Skills classes. Then, they played soccer from 1 until 3:30 pm.
The Art Program was designed by LEAP, an arts education organization that helped carry out the curriculum. For the younger students who participated, class culminated with the creation of a triptych that reflected migration. Using colored pencils, the triptychs illustrated stories ranging from the migration of a student’s mother from the Dominican Republic to the United States to the most common motifs found in a student’s country of origin, in this case Coite D’ivoire. In ELA courses, the students carried out a debate on push versus pull immigration factors. Each side had to present an opening statement, arguments, and a closing statement. They presented their arguments to a panel of visitors from the investment firm BlackRock. In addition to BlackRock, volunteers from PIMCO and Goldman Sachs came out to conduct workshops with the students.
The older students participated in a Community Asset Mapping project in affiliation with the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center. The purpose of the project was to specify the resources, or lack of resources, available in the South Bronx. The students created maps to illustrate where community assets were located. The maps also showed which countries were represented by the denizens of each Bronx neighborhood.
As a part of the Summer Program tradition, Fridays were designated for outdoor excursions. The students lined up for the Cyclone at Coney Island, swam at Bear Mountain, canoed at Orchard Beach, and rode bikes through Governor’s Island. On the last Friday, scholars rode a bus to New Jersey and spent the day at Six Flags.
This summer, South Bronx United also held a photography club as a part of its summer curriculum. Every Tuesday and Wednesday, students learned the foundations of photography and applied the lessons using digital cameras. The intention behind the Photography Club was to allow students to think about their surroundings and use photography as a means to express those perspectives.
The Summer Soccer Scholars program would not have been possible without LEAP, Friends of Brook Park, Mount Sinai, Goldman Sachs, BlackRock, and PIMCO. South Bronx United would like to thank all of the volunteers and teachers who helped make the program an instructive and creative environment for their students.