“This is actually pretty good!” he said, holding the small cup. Spinach-mango smoothie in hand, the fourth grader rejoined his "buddies" who were deep into a health discussion. With one more school day before spring break, the soccer players at Jorge Prieto Math and Science Academy got a tasty and healthy start to their morning.
Even better than a morning smoothie, the Prieto students had their best practice of the year with the help of some enthusiastic volunteers from the Northwestern University Civic Education Project (CEP). This program recruits high school students from the Chicago area to participate in service-learning trips around the city. Through volunteering with underprivileged kids, these students come to understand themselves in the broader context of civic community, and get an opportunity to put that understanding into action. This is the third year that CEP has partnered with Urban Initiatives to give their volunteers a meaningful, engaging experience.
This morning, that meant having a lot of fun with some energized soccer players. The Prieto players and high schoolers were paired up as "buddies" for the entire practice. From relay races to partner passing to a soccer scrimmage at the end, the teams of buddies barely had a moment to catch their breath. When they did, it was to discuss the importance of a healthy lifestyle while they sipped their delicious smoothies.
After the Prieto team hustled off to class, Coach Tom and Coach Cris took some time to talk to the volunteers from CEP about Urban Initiatives and its role in improving the lives of kids on the soccer teams. Before the volunteers were out the door, a number of them had already used their smart phones to send emails to Urban Initiatives inquiring into more volunteering opportunities!
Thanks again to Northwestern and the Civic Education Project! We’ll see you on the field.