For the fourth consecutive summer, South Bronx United’s Summer Soccer Scholars took to the classroom, the soccer field, and even the water. The five-week program served 80 boys and girls, ages 11-18, most of whom participate in the SBU Academy program, and was held at the Urban Assembly School for Careers in Sports on the Mott Haven High School Campus.
Every Monday through Thursday, the summer scholars attended three classes, including Environmental Science, Journalism, and Life Skills. The Life Skills class was offered through a partnership with Changing The Odds at the Morris Heights Health Center and their Teen Outreach Program. Classes were taught by college interns who spent seven weeks of their summer learning on the job. The interns, who attended schools including Hunter College, Fordham University, New York University, Colorado College, SUNY Binghamton, and the University of Pennsylvania, took the opportunity to share their college experiences with their SBU students.
Fridays brought field trips that gave scholars the chance to bond and to travel beyond their neighborhoods. Trips included Coney Island, Bear Mountain State Park, Orchard Beach, Six Flags Great Adventure, and Fordham University pool and field day. Students with the best attendance for the entire program were rewarded with free tickets to Six Flags Great Adventure Theme Park.
During classes, students produced a program news magazine and participated in service learning through the beautification of the DeVanney Triangle with the Bronx is Blooming. In Environmental Science, students investigated human’s impact on the environment and experimented through soil and water testing. The course culminated with a trip to the Tiorati Nature Center at Lake Tiorati, Harriman State Park. The Bank Street College of Education‘s science director took students on an exploration of the natural environment and led the ensuing discussions.
Many students looked forward most to afternoon soccer training. This was particularly taxing for many youth fasted from food and water during the day in observance of Ramadan, the Muslim month of fast which coincided with the first two weeks of the program. Twice a week, scholars participated in technical-focused soccer trainings. Each Tuesday and Thursday brought the much anticipated SBU Summer Soccer Scholars World Cup which pitted all the plays on the field against one another. Nepal prevailed in a hard fought victory 2-1 over Guam in the finals on a stoppage time goal. For the students, one of the most exciting days involved a surprise visit from Spanish World Cup player David Villa, the star signing of New York City FC, the newest team of Major League Soccer.
Over the next few weeks, check back at sbUNITE! for some first-hand experiences this summer from SBU youth scholars and summer mentors. South Bronx United thanks everyone who helps make this program possible, including all the summer staff and interns who dedicated their time; individual, corporate, and foundation donors who continue to support SBU; the Urban Assembly School for Careers in Sports and Mott Haven HS Campus; the NYCDOE Office of School Food and Summer Meals Program; Changing the Odds at Morris Heights Health Center; the Bronx is Blooming; New York City FC; Fordham University; Bank Street College of Education; and countless others.