SBU Awarded 2019 Community Grant by the FA Premier League’s International Development Fund

South Bronx United has been awarded a 2019 community program grant from the FA Premier League’s International Development Fund, a philanthropic fund developed in partnership with streetfootballworld. The grant, in the amount of £20,000, will be used to support South Bronx United’s college and career success initiatives for SBU Academy alumni.

“We are thrilled to have the support of the Premier League to help us combat in our Bronx community a nationwide problem facing low-income young men and women,” said Andrew So, South Bronx United’s Executive Director. “Among those who start college, very few ever earn a degree. Among all young adults, fewer are gaining access to careers that can lift them out of poverty. Like with so many other challenges, soccer can, in fact, play a role in addressing these inequities, not only globally but especially here in the South Bronx. We are excited that the Premier League also recognizes this.”

Alumni and Academy seniors in a roundtable discussion at the First Annual Alumni Career Networking Mixer.

Over the next year, South Bronx United will be investing more in providing the programs, services, and resources to assist its alumni in achieving college and career success. This includes hiring an alumni coordinator, increasing college counseling sessions to provide supports that prevent students from dropping out, expanding post-secondary and vocational training as options for non-college bound students, holding alumni workshops, and expanding on the SBU Coaching Corps Fellowship that offers a select group of alumni a stipend to gain practical experience and training as soccer coaches, referees, and mentors. In the past years, the organization has also started its first competitive alumni soccer team and held an Alumni Career Networking event that connected 73 young people with professionals in various career fields.

Established in 2017 in partnership with streetfootballworld, the FA Premier League International Development Fund supports collaborative projects between community organizations of English Premier League Clubs and community-based organizations that make up the streetfootballworld network members. The Fund also has selected individual projects led by network members in the areas of sports participation, education, and life skills development.  Since its founding in 2009, South Bronx United has demonstrated extensive experience in using soccer to expand opportunities and enrich the lives of young people. South Bronx United has been a streetfootballworld network member since 2016.

More information about streetfootballworld and the Premier League

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First Annual Alumni Career Networking Mixer

On January 10, 2019, 73 alumni and SBU Academy seniors and a diverse contingent of more than 30 professionals assembled for South Bronx United’s First Annual Alumni Career Networking Mixer. After welcoming remarks by alumnus Kafoumba Doumbia, professional attendees broke into panels representing the fields in which they work: business and marketing, communications and media, finance, health, law and criminal justice, public service, and technology. Throughout the evening, SBU alumni and seniors were able to rotate through the panels for roundtable discussions in which they could ask questions and get advice. Panelists were eager to share wide-ranging insight on everything from what to look for in an employer to finding work that you’re passionate about to how to meet the people that can open doors for professional development.

A tall stack of (obligatory) pizzas compelled everyone out of their roundtables and into the main auditorium for a lively networking mixer. As the evening wound down, alumni and seniors were able to sign up to be paired with professional mentors—it’s the first of several initiatives that SBU will develop over the next year to better support and engage with its alumni population.

Current alumni and Academy seniors who would like to sign up to be paired with a mentor, as well as any professionals who are interested in becoming mentors should send an email to Jessica Marroquin [jessica@southbronxunited.org] or Rob Boatti [rob@southbronxunited.org].

The event was graciously hosted by BlackRock. Pictures of the event can be seen on the South Bronx United Facebook page.

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SBU 8th Annual Benefit: Our most successful yet!

On November 8, 2018 at the Midtown Loft and Terrace, South Bronx United held its 8th Annual Benefit. More than 300 guests convened on the evening, raising $140,000, the largest figure ever from the organization’s fundraising event.

The night was hosted by Kyle Martino, one of the faces of NBC Sports’ English Premier League broadcasts, and whose own playing career brought him to the highest levels of US Soccer.

Martino was joined first by NYCFC’s Ronald Matarrita. As an ambassador to Laureus Sport for Good USA Foundation, the Costa Rican midfielder, has been a strong advocate for the development through sport of youth in immigrant communities. In September, he visited South Bronx United’s soccer programming to provide tips on life and on the game.

Bitta Mostofi is the Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs at the New York City Mayor’s Office. She discussed with Kyle Martino her role in the development of major City initiatives such as IDNYC and ActionNYC, the City’s free and confidential immigrant legal services program. Mostafi spoke urgently about the importance of supporting organizations like South Bronx United, and of nurturing a compassionate response to the plights of immigrants and refugees.

The organization’s 2018 Alumni Honoree was Derrick Cordova, who is a sophomore at the College of Mount Saint Vincent where he is majoring in Sports Management. He competes for the men’s soccer team and leads the team in scoring in 2018 with nine goals.

Derrick joined South Bronx United in 2015. At the age of 15, he left La Ceiba Honduras without any family on a treacherous 2,000-mile trek to the United States. He followed the path of thousands of other Central American youth, who were fleeing gangs and violence to seek a better opportunity for themselves and their families. Last year, ESPN Deportes and ESPN SportsCenter aired a segment titled “El Camino,” covering Derrick’s journey. The segment was played before Derrick joined Martino on stage to voice a moving statement about the importance of South Bronx United’s programming in his ability to overcome the challenges in adjusting to life in New York City. Derrick recently gained legal permanent residency.

Throughout the evening, guests were able to participate in a silent auction and purchase tickets for a live raffle drawing. In his remarks, Executive Director Andrew So emphasized the need for guests to be champions of South Bronx United and its causes in order to continue to increase the organization’s capacity to serve the communities that are most vulnerable in our city today. Executive Board Member Jon Lee followed up with a rousing call to action.

 

It was the generous support of guests who believe in South Bronx United’s mission that made the night so successful. More than 90% of funds raised will go right back into the organization’s programs, supporting the community, immigrant, and first-generation youth in the classroom and on the soccer field, helping them on the path to college and professional life.

The night’s sponsors included Barclays, Bregal Partners, Dos Toros Taqueria, InterFysio, and Two Sigma.

Food and drink donations were generously made by Ample Hills Creamery, Barking Irons, Bronx Baking Co., Bronx Brewery, Brooklyn Gin, Dos Toros Taqueria, Double Dutch Espresso, Elevate Catering, Giffard, Heineken, Insomnia Cookies, Prizefight Irish Whiskey, Reyka Vodka, Shake Shack, Thomas Henry, Wódka.

To see more photos from South Bronx United’s 8th Annual Benefit, 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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SBU Alum Nancy Ordaz Travels to Peru with Woza Soccer

This summer, South Bronx United alum Nancy Ordaz was awarded a full scholarship by Woza Soccer for the organization’s service trip to Peru. The immersive program is an opportunity for students from across the United States to build relationships with each other while serving and playing soccer to inspire action and connections within local communities. Nancy was recently asked to speak at a fundraising event for Woza Soccer about her experiences in the program. Below is the text of the speech she prepared for that event:

First and foremost, thank you for the opportunity to be here today and for the wonderful opportunity that was provided to me by WOZA.

When my soccer club, South Bronx United, first talked to me about WOZA, I was a bit skeptical. You see, I am a timid person, and I was worried about meeting new people. Not only that, I had never traveled outside the country or been on a plane before. It took some convincing, but I finally saw the value of this fantastic opportunity.

I knew I had made the right decision the second I met my travel group and group leaders. I have to say, this opportunity changed my life. My trip to Peru helped me meet new people from all over the country who share my passion for soccer. Not only did I get to hang out with some great people, but I also got to see the world in a whole new way. Before going to Peru, I was not aware or maybe didn’t realize that people outside of the Bronx have it a lot more difficult than I do. Their struggles are beyond anything I could ever imagine, and yet, they wake up every morning with a smile on their face. Their smiles taught me how to appreciate my life and all of the opportunities available to me. I also learned that Peruvian people are great soccer players and that soccer truly unites the world.

One of my favorite memories about Peru was traveling to Machu Pichu, but there was one thing I did not like. The stairs! We climbed and climbed, and I have to admit, I even contemplated quitting at one point. Thankfully, I didn’t let my exhaustion get the best of me. We made it to the top, and it was magical. I now use Machu Pichu as a metaphor in my everyday life. I remember that just like in Machu Pichu, life is hard and there are many steps before you reach the top. Sometimes, you’re going to want to quit, but if you stick it out and keep climbing, magic awaits you at the top.

Once again, thank you for having me and thank you for picking me to travel to Peru and be a part of this once in a lifetime experience.

Nancy was awarded a South Bronx United Scholarship to attend the College of Staten Island, where she is currently a freshman. We are so proud to see her continue to be a champion of the values that South Bronx United stands for.

 

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South Bronx United to Honor NYC Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs and NYCFC Star at Annual Benefit on November 8th

South Bronx United’s 8th Annual Benefit will be held on November 8th. Doors open at 6:30pm.

NEW YORK, NY – On Thursday, November 8th, South Bronx United will hold its 8th Annual Benefit at the Midtown Loft & Terrace in Manhattan. The evening will raise funds for the organization’s youth programs that reach more than 1,100 boys and girls annually, combining recreational and competitive soccer programming with academic enrichment, college prep, mentoring, immigration legal services, and other support services for Bronx and immigrant youth and their families.

Kyle Martino, studio analyst for NBC Sports’ weekly English Premier League broadcasts, will serve as host. Martino played in Major League Soccer, winning Rookie of the Year and an All-Star selection, and was a candidate in this year’s election for President of the U.S. Soccer Federation. He was also named National Board Chair of Street Soccer USA this year, where he continues to use the game to make a positive social impact.

South Bronx United will also honor three individuals. Bitta Mostofi is the Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. She was named commissioner this year and has served in the office since the start of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration. Mostofi previously worked as an immigration attorney, fighting for the rights of immigrant crime victims and asylees, as well as providing legal defense for immigrants facing deportation and those experiencing discrimination because of their Middle Eastern or Muslim origins. In her work at the Mayor’s Office, she has played a central role in the development of major City initiatives such as IDNYC and ActionNYC, the City’s free and confidential immigrant legal services program.

Rónald Matarrita signed with New York City FC in 2016 from Alajuelense in his native Costa Rica. He was the team’s defensive player of the year in 2016 and has racked up 61 appearances. Matarrita has been a mainstay on the Costa Rican national team, helping them qualify for the 2018 World Cup. He visited South Bronx United programs in September where he engaged with community youth as an athlete ambassador to Laureus Sport for Good USA Foundation, an organization that uses sport to change the lives of youth and unite communities nationwide.

South Bronx United’s 2018 Alumni Honoree is Derrick Cordova. Cordova, 19, is a sophomore at the College of Mount Saint Vincent where he is majoring in Sports Management. He led the men’s soccer team in scoring this year with nine goals. Derrick joined the SBU Academy in 2015. A year earlier he had left La Ceiba, Honduras without any family on a treacherous 2,000-mile trek to the United States. He followed in the path of thousands of other Central American youth, who were fleeing gangs and violence to seek a better opportunity for themselves and their families.

Tickets for the Annual Benefit start at $140 and can be purchased on the event’s webpage. The ticket cost is partially tax-deductible.  Sponsorship and Program Ad Packages are also available. Event sponsors include Two Sigma Investments, Bregal Partners, Barclays, and Interfysio. Production sponsors include Dos Toros Taqueria, Shake Shack, the Bronx Brewery, Heineken USA, and Velvet Nation.

The 2017 Annual Benefit included host Roger Bennett, Alumni Honoree Mohamed Camara, and Honoree Jon Patricof, CEO of New York City FC

Up to 350 guests are expected to attend helping to raise more than $110,000 that will help cover an essential portion of its annual budget, primarily funding academic programs, college prep, and immigrant services. In the past six years, 100 percent of SBU Academy seniors have gone on to graduate high school and 95 percent have enrolled in college, nearly twice the rate of community youth overall. The organization has also provided crucial immigration legal services and screenings for dozens of youth and families, helping them on a path to a better life. For more information about South Bronx United’s mission, visit www.southbronxunited.org.

South Bronx United’s 8th Annual Benefit will be held at the Midtown Loft & Terrace, 267 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016 on Thursday, November 8th. Doors open at 6:30 pm. Advance tickets are needed to guarantee admission. To learn more visit the website sbusupporters.org/benefit, email  benefit@southbronxunited.org, or call (718) 404-9281.

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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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