The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Student group coaches, mentors children

Students Promoting Awareness, Responsibility and Citizenship, a student organization dedicated to community service, is currently recruiting students to volunteer as assistant coaches for the Cesar Chavez Elementary after-school soccer program.

Chavez Elementary, an 81 percent Hispanic and 95 percent economically disadvantaged school in south Dallas, deals with “a lot of problems in the surrounding neighborhoods,” SPARC President Bryan Shnider said. “Your presence and enthusiasm for the game is one way of keeping these students out of trouble.”

The after-school program is a part of Dallas SCORES, an organization that provides an experiential learning opportunity and creates an environment where all feel welcome and safe, currently in its second year. SPARC volunteered for SCORES last year as referees for Chavez Elementary soccer games.

This year, SMU wants volunteers to interact more with the children on a weekly basis to establish a relationship with the players and make a larger impact on their lives as friends and role models.

“[The program] truly teaches the kids how to have more respect for themselves and their peers when they work together as a team,” Shnider said.

Chavez Elementary hosts two teams, one for boys and one for girls in the third through fifth grades, with 16 players and one coach per team.

Since both coaches are teachers from the school and are coaching for their first year, Chavez Elementary recruits SMU volunteers to help run drills and keep practices structured.

“But, what is more important than a soccer background is for students older than the children to come help out . . . They will look up to you for advice and direction,” Shnider said.

SPARC coordinator Natalie Cortes encourages students who want to make a difference to show their support by volunteering.

“It is something that doesn’t take up much of your time and will definitely have a positive impact. Even just playing soccer with kids once a week for an hour and a half can be a good influence on those that need guidance at an early age,” she said.

SPARC meets at the flagpole at 3:15 p.m. every Wednesday until the end of April.

Practices are on Mondays and Wednesdays from 4 to 5:30 p.m., and games are on Friday afternoons, beginning March 31.

For more information, contact Natalie Cortes at (551) 427-3339.

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