STATE OF THE ORGANIZATION ADDRESS
Hi everyone and Happy 2017!
Beginning this New Year, we wanted to reach out to all of you: we are only able to expand our services and grow as an organization thanks to your support! Before giving you an insight into our way ahead, let’s briefly put into perspective the amazing year that just ended. 2016 was quite the ride!
For the first time, our free youth programs reached more than 4000 children, that’s almost double our 2015 achievement. Our programs, which are at the core of what we do and are the driving force behind every effort, expanded exponentially, reaching levels never seen before. This increase in numbers presented immediate challenges, but our team – as always – was up to the task.
In 2016, our Community Programs had a multi cultural flavor. Working with African American, refugee and Latino communities we spanned all metropolitan regions : West (John Hope, Vine City and Underwood Hills), South (College Park), East (Clarkston), Centers of Hope (M.L. King Recreation Center, Pittman Recreation Center, Ben Hill Center, and Bessie Branham Center), and Downtown (‘Station Soccer’ - Five Points Marta Station).
Powered by a partnership with the new Major League Soccer team in town, Atlanta United and the Arthur Blank Foundation, our School-Based Programs also made huge strides in the last twelve months. We ran programming on the Dekalb County Schools District (McLendon Elementary, Jolly Elementary, and Indian Creek Elementary), Cobb County School District (Fair Oaks Elementary, LaBelle Elementary, Belmont Hills Elementary, and Green Acres Elementary), and Atlanta Public Schools (Dunbar Elementary, F.L. Stanton Elementary, M.A. Jones Elementary, Towns Elementary, Scott Elementary, Westside Atlanta Charter School, Boys Middle School, Harper-Archer Middle School, Brown Middle Schools, and Corretta Scott King Middle School).
Last, but not least, our Life Works Program - working with teens 12-18 years old by providing workshops, life skills, and employability training – were up and running at all cylinders in Clarkston and Vine City.
In 2016 we reached another milestone: launching ‘Station Soccer – Five Points’. The new home of Urban Soccer and the first of its kind in the world, ‘Station Soccer’ opened its doors in October. With support from MARTA, Atlanta United Foundation and Greenfields, in this bold move, we embraced a commitment to ‘Social Impact Soccer’ by providing easy access, leveling the playing field, integrating youth, and promoting life skills to key demographics in the metro area.
During the year that has just begun, the organization is pursuing both expansion and sustainability by adopting a community enterprise model with ‘Station Soccer’. By running adult leagues for a donation fee at “Station Soccer’, we aim at reaching more youth through our programs than ever before. When adults play at ‘Station Soccer’, not only will they maintain a healthy lifestyle, but also help improve the lives of many children that would otherwise not have access to the sport or a safe place to stay after school, developing their skills both on and off the pitch.
What are you waiting for? Visit our page and sign up to play in our adult leagues. Nobody does Social Impact Soccer like we do!
Our fundraising events were a success in 2016, breaking all donation goals. Champions League, Nations Cup and Black Tie Soccer Game were instrumental in allowing the organization to fulfill its missions.
This 2017, we are not only raising the bar with our events by diversifying our offers, but are also adding one major fundraising event to our traditional core: Corporate Cup. Corporate Cup is a one-day, co-ed fundraising soccer tournament, where corporate employees will compete on and off the pitch to raise money for our Social Impact Soccer initiative. Not only is there a trophy for the winners on the field, there is also one for the team that wins the fundraising competition by collectively raising the most money. This event represents an opportunity to be an agent of change for many children and families in your city. If you are interested, learn more here.
Our focus moving forward is clear: build on the strong foundation that your support has afforded us for so many years. We have taken the decisive step to innovate and become pioneers, taking risks when necessary. Nothing is more important than aiming at higher ground when seeking a better outcome in the lives of the most vulnerable segment of society: our youth. To that extend, Soccer in the Streets will continue to honor its commitment to those who need it the most.
You should expect the unexpected from our team: more bold ideas and innovative thinking. We don’t fit into a mold; we like to be different, be fun, be determined and do whatever it takes to get the job done. Our youth deserve nothing less than that.
Our core mission will always be to provide soccer programs in low-income communities where soccer does not typically exist, by removing financial, racial, and gender barriers that exclude children from being involved in meaningful athletic and recreational activities. Once children are involved in positive activities which not only teach soccer basics, but also life skills - such as discipline, responsibility and socialization/teamwork - they are less likely to get involved with destructive influences they may find in their neighborhoods. Their accomplishments, in turn, foster higher self-esteem and further promote constructive lifestyles.
Although we are proud of our accomplishments, we know there is still a lot of work to be done. It is our hope you continue supporting us, while we pursue our lofty goals towards bringing soccer and life skills to every corner of Metro Atlanta.
Thank you for your unwavering support!
Yours in soccer