Last Friday at the Windy City Fieldhouse, Work to Play soccer players from Howe and Nobel were surprised and thrilled when they showed up and found their new teammates, the enthusiastic volunteers from Kirkland and Ellis LLP! It always means so much to our young student athletes when they get to interact with Chicago adults because it communicates to them how cared about they are. Nothing makes them feel important like having someone show up specially to coach them and cheer them on as they put into practice all their new moves that they’ve been learning. The Kirkland and Ellis volunteers were just as excited as the soccer players and even played a quick warm up game before the buses arrived! It turns out our volunteers had some hidden soccer talent that they couldn’t wait to show off!
As soon as the students got there, the volunteers jumped right in and each took a team of 5 players to stick with for the rest of the afternoon. It took no time at all for the Kirkland and Ellis volunteers and the Urban Initiatives soccer players to become fast friends. One volunteer even wrote us after the event to tell us that they were all “talking about their new friends on the ride home!” The young players were encouraged by the presence of their new coaches and played their hardest. Everyone was impressed with the competition and the Work to Play teams basked in the glow of the admiration of their new fans.
As the games drew to a close, the Kirkland and Ellis volunteers had thought ahead and even brought a snack to share to help the exhausted athletes refuel. The volunteers fit right in as they passed out the "Urban Initiatives special", a granola bar, an apple, and a bottle of water! The kids were sad to say goodbye, but they are already looking forward to the next time they get to play soccer with their new Chicago role models!
Thank you so much to all of those from Kirkland and Ellis LLP who showed up to help us out and make the day of the Howe and Nobel participants. Special thanks to Urban Initiatives Board Member Neil Hirshman for getting involved and inviting others from Kirkland and Ellis LLP to join this great cause! And a big thank you to Kirkland and Ellis' Melissa Bjella and Talia Bucci (also an Urban Initiatives Junior Board member) for helping to coordinate the event!