In a world full of fast food and video games, is it possible to keep kids active while enriching their lives with academics or music? Here are six charities that think they’ve found solutions for keeping today’s youth both smart and sporty. So get out your calculator or lace up your running shoes and read on to find out how you can become part of the process.
dcscores.org | 202-393-6999
What: Creative-writing and soccer activities take place every day year-round for students at more than 20 DC elementary and middle schools.
Upcoming events: Poetry Slam at Gallaudet University: DC Scores students perform original works of poetry with a chance to win the Golden Mic or Spirit Award. This event is free and open to the public; volunteers are needed to help keep score, check in, and usher. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. November 28 and 29, 5 to 7:30 PM. Volunteers also needed as coaches, referees, and writing-workshop leaders throughout the year.
FRIENDS OF FORT DUPONT ICE ARENA
fdia.org | 202-584-5007
What: A nonprofit organization formed to revitalize the Fort Dupont Ice Arena in Southeast DC—the only indoor rink in the city. The arena is open for public skating and school hockey-team practices. The athletic program Kids on Ice offers a safe place for local young people through structured activities during nonschool hours.
Upcoming events: Holiday Magic on Ice Sunday (December 16, 1:30 PM, free). An annual holiday skating exhibition featuring top Washington-area figure skaters performing to holiday music. Organized by Grassroots to Champions and headed by Olympic figure-skating coach Audrey Weisiger. Public skating afterward. Financial, equipment, or time donations also appreciated.
HOOP DREAMS SCHOLARSHIP FUND
hoopdreams.org | 202-414-4774
What: Nearly 750 DC public high-school students prepare for college through college-prep, internship, or SAT-prep programs; some are awarded academic scholarships. Hoop Dreams has helped more than 125 students graduate from college; many were the first in their families to go to college.
How you can help: Donate money or give time by becoming a mentor. Check the Web site this spring for information about the Hoop Dreams Scholarship Fund’s three-on-three charity basketball tournament and community festival.
JOY OF SPORTS FOUNDATION
joyofsports.org | 202-548-0187
What: Programs to serve at-risk children through tennis, basketball, soccer, and other sports and clubs. All needed equipment is provided, and coaches are thoroughly trained by staff. Programs are offered in partnership with local organizations including schools, recreation centers, Boys & Girls Clubs, and daycare centers and are located at their facilities. JSF programs are available year-round for children ages 3 to 13.
How you can help: Donate sports and computer equipment, make financial contributions, or partner with Joy of Sports to offer programs in your area.
KEELY’S DISTRICT BOXING & YOUTH CENTER
keelysdistrictboxingandyouthcenter.org/ | 202-232-0193
What: Community-centered activities that promote the physical, mental, spiritual, and academic well-being of at-risk youth in DC’s Columbia Heights community. Boxing training is paired with nutrition and literacy classes to encourage good sportsmanship and prepare young people for successful adult lives.
How you can help: Get involved with center activities, make a donation, or volunteer your time.
KIDS ENJOY EXERCISE NOW (KEEP)
keengreaterdc.org | 301-770-3200
What: Children and young adults with disabilities are paired with trained volunteers for fun, noncompetitive recreational activities including swimming, tennis, music, and bowling. Programs are located in DC, Montgomery County, and Northern Virginia.
Upcoming events: A list of weekly volunteer opportunities can be found here. Volunteers must be at least 15 years old.