On Monday, June 15th, Final Third Foundation's Virtual Soccer & Literacy eight-week summer program began. Three times per week, F3 works with youth participants in the Urban Resurrection Community Development summer camp.
For the past six weeks, the children have been fully engaged in the footwork and soccer skill exercises that last for 30 minutes each day. Afterwards, Leiah Groom-Thomas, F3 Director of Education, reads the Jamie Johnson series novel, Born to Play, and engages with the children using the Born to Play Teaching curriculum.
Areas of focus include:
"One of the most valuable aspects of this program has been facilitating reading and literacy instruction through discussion-based pedagogy based on what we are reading. Our conversations have been rooted in various life lessons and experiences that a lot of kids can relate to, regardless of their individual background knowledge or prior experience. Kids are engaged with the reading and therefore have a vested interest in discussions. We talk about how to handle adversity, how to engage in problem-solving activities using critical thinking and reflection, using textual evidence to support claims, and contextualizing new vocabulary and learning concepts to bolster reading comprehension. So far, it has been a wonderful experience and I look forward to continuing this work in the coming weeks," says Groom-Thomas.
Sandra Harris, Executive Director of Urban Resurrection Community Development Corporation stated, "The Final Third Foundation Soccer & Literacy Program has been outstanding with the planning and execution of their literacy lessons and soccer skills instruction. All of the responses have been appropriate and they have made adjustments as needed in this new virtual environment we are currently having to deal with. F3 is very respectful of the children and conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times. The kids seem to really be enjoying the program."
F3 is partnering with Columbus Women's Soccer Team, Columbus Eagles FC, to support girls and women locally and internationally through soccer. The campaign, “Supporting Women Globally”, will support the Likoni Community Football League, an F3 Project based in Likoni, Mombasa, Kenya, and provide soccer programming directed toward young girls locally, in Columbus, OH.
The Likoni Community Football League (LCFL), founded in 2011 by F3’s Executive Director, Benjamin Levey, is a sports and development organization that provides a youth soccer and women’s soccer league in one of the poorest areas of Mombasa, Kenya. The Eagles plan to help collect equipment for the organization and assist with fundraising efforts in 2020. The equipment and dollars raised will go directly to support the LCFL’s Women’s teams and league. Last year, about 400 children and 160 girls and young women participate in LCFL programs.
F3, which also oversees Columbus East FC, a youth soccer club, will also work with the Eagles to hold girls-specific soccer clinics and camps. Camps and clinics will be run by Columbus East FC coaching staff and Eagles players. The goals for both organizations are to excite more girls locally about the game of soccer and establish a group of young women and role models for girls to look up to and support.
“We are very excited about the F3 Soccer & Literacy program, and even more excited to add Leiah Groom-Thomas to our team. Leiah brings the quality needed to allow this program to become what we originally envisaged - a world-class soccer and education program that maximizes each child’s time with us, ” says Benjamin Levey, Executive Director of F3.
Leiah is in the final stages of receiving her PhD in Reading and Literacy in Early and Middle Childhood from The Ohio State University. Her research expertise includes young children’s literacy and comprehension skill development. Prior to pursuing her PhD, Leiah was a teacher at Grace Christian School in Blacklick, Ohio where she also assisted in organizing and operating various camp programs.
"It is a privilege to have the opportunity to work with a foundation with incredible goals for the community and children across the Columbus area. I look forward to utilizing my teaching background and research training to design F3's Soccer & Literacy program and to see where we can take it in the future,” says Groom-Thomas.
F3 is currently fundraising for the after-school program. If you would like to make a contribution directly to the program please click here: Soccer & Literacy at Eakin Elementary
This morning I woke up to a grant proposal written by Zenah Athman Iddi for a UK-based organization, Gurls Talk. Zenah is LCFL's recent hire and Girls Program Project Officer.