As of 2017, the only after school activity we provided outside of academic support was a girls and boys basketball team. Fortunately, this year the school budget allowed for 2 soccer teams. There would be one for the boys and one for the girls at a field offsite. I was chosen as the girls head coach and quickly realized the difficulties that come with an after school program at a school with limited funding.
Most of our students have never played soccer, a sport, or an organized activity in their lives. My girls showed up in sneakers, no shin guards and some in their school uniform. I had a total of 71, yes, 71 girls tryout for 20 spots. I wish I could’ve taken them all but our budget only allows for 20 jerseys.
At tryouts, I had 6 soccer balls, on a half of a field, a bag of pinnies, some thunder, and monsoon like rain. It rained so hard with no shelter or rain jackets. Not a single player rating could be taken and not a single wide ruled notebook survived, as rained seeped through their bags. So what Sam.. it rained.. its an outside sport.. this happens... well, the best part of this tryout is not one single girl complained.
I saw smiles, laughter and hard work. I heard questions like "how much more time do we have" "do we get to come back tomorrow even it rains""do we have to take water breaks, Id rather keep playing...."
At the end of this tryout, I asked them to pick a word that represents the day. As I look at their wet and muddy faces I expect teenage girls to say" miserable" or "soccer sucks". Instead I get, "Miss Lynott, I think the word family would be good.”
For most of my students, life is hard. Many of our kids are living in poverty and grow up much faster than they should. They experience grief, loss, and trauma that would be difficult for an adult, let alone a 13 year old to process. As a counselor I see the anger, the sadness, the loneliness and the yearning to belong.
I am asking for $5,000 dollars so I can provide my girls with this sense of belonging. I want to use the money to make this program, a program these girls DESERVE. I want to provide pasta parties before games, jackets with their last names, more than 6 soccer balls, shin guards, cleats and an end of the year banquet for awards. These details make the difference. These students are constantly reminded " we don't have the funds for this... we wish we could... if only we could.. maybe next year" That just isn't good enough for me. I am beyond awkward when it comes to asking for money but when it comes to these girls and providing them a real HS sport experience.. I'll do whatever it takes.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I can't put into words how grateful I am for any one who donates <3!
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