The Star City Soccer Foundation (SCSF) provides opportunities for education, assimilation, and leadership for refugee and immigrant (R/I) students in Roanoke City Public Schools (RCPS). According to Virginia Department of Education data, there are currently over 1,000 R/I students in RCPS. Sadly, the graduation rate for this population of students was only 30 percent in 2009 in Roanoke compared to a state-wide rate of 65 percent. These students speak 36 different languages and have often had no formal education in their native country/refugee camp. SCSF aims to help these students overcome the language barrier that they face so that they can become self-sufficient and valuable contributors to our community.
Much more than a soccer organization, SCSF creates and funds projects that prepare male and female R/I youths to take the steps necessary to attend college, technical school, or job training. The summer of 2010 marked the second year of programming for SCSF. Educational and leadership camps are a major part of SCSF’s summer programs, which include an English Mastery Camp on the campus of Hollins University and the Urban Soccer Collaborative’s National Youth Leadership Institute. Another SCSF program, New Foundations is an individualized year round program that encompasses professional tutoring, mentoring, internship, and community service. This year, SCSF is starting a program that will provide year round programming for a larger number of students by offering an after school program.
Even though not all SCSF participants even play soccer, the game plays a vital role in the Foundation’s mission. Soccer brings people together in a way that nothing else does. Almost every culture shares a passion for soccer, so SCSF uses that commonality as a source of unification as it works with students from all over the world. SCSF’s philosophy toward its main principles – education, assimilation, and leadership – maintains that students develop in these areas most when their “development cycle” is circulating: motivation à skills à confidence. These qualities create a continuous cycle as they complement each other, but if one element is missing, the cycle’s movement is stifled.
The goal of SCSF is to accelerate the “development cycle” of every student it reaches by improving her motivation, her skills, and her confidence.
–Landon Moore, Co-Head Coach and Recruiting Coordinator Hollins University Soccer
Submitted by Libby Blankenship