Sarah Walz via Crowdrise
July 08, 2015
BENEFITING: IOWA CITY ALLIANCE SOCCER CLUB
EVENT DATE: Sep 09, 2015
The "Everybody Play" effort started last year as a donation drive sponsored by Alliance Soccer Club to help outfit school kids from Grant Wood Elementary with shin guards, cleats, and socks so they could play Kickers Soccer (Iowa City's recreational league).
Nearly a quarter of students who attend Grant Wood are in English Language Learning (ELL) classes. They are immigrant kids from all over the world, many from Africa. For them, soccer is more than a game they LOVE--it is a language they have in common with their peers. Playing has helped them make friends and introduced their families to each other and to the larger community that is Iowa City. [Read more about this below.]
These kids now want to play and learn side-by-side with kids from other schools. 26 dedicated Grant Wood player (mostly from grades 4-6) will attend Alliance Summer Soccer Camp. Thanks to generous donations from friends and community members and contributions from the United Way and the Community Foundation of Iowa City, we have raised the funds to pay all the camp fees. The camp will not only give these kids a chance to work on their soccer skills, but will allow them to meet kids with whom they will soon attend junior high and high school.
On Thursday morning (June 25) we learned that 10 players (9 boys and 1 girl) were selected to play with Alliance Soccer Club. This far exceeded our hopes. Three will play on practice-only squads; seven will play competitive soccer teams. ALL will be on scholarship thanks to Alliance. That is 10 months of practice and play and making new friends.
Our goal is to raise $5,000. We are halfway there. All remaining donations (above $2500) will go toward uniforms and fees anything above and beyond $5k will go to the scholarship fund.
Alliance will also host a second cleat and shin guard collection this fall.
More about Grant Wood Soccer:
Though she has no background in the sport, Stephanie Van Housen recognized soccer as a unique tool for helping immigrant children feel at home here in Iowa City. Stephanie was a family resource advocate at Grant Wood Elementary. She saw that for many immigrant kids and families, connecting with the classmates was a big challenge.
Two years ago Stephanie began organizing Kickers teams. This meant signing up 33 kids and getting permission slips from parents, many of whom speak little or no English and have never lived in a place where there are organized activities of any kind for children. Nearly all the children needed scholarships, cleats, shin guards, balls, water bottles, and transportation to the games. They had to learn the complicated game day schedules that change from week to week, and they needed volunteer coaches who could work with dozens of kids who mostly speak languages other than English. Somehow it all came together. The program was a success both on and off the field and by the second year the number of players participating doubled. In some cases, older siblings helped coach. Kids found new friends, families got to know each other, and everyone began to feel like they were not just part of a team but also part of a community. That's what happens when everybody plays!