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Executive Director's Statement: As one of the hardest-hit communities, fields, and courts remain closed. Lawrence youth are also reporting higher levels of anxiety, with city sports groups reaching only ¼ the number of kids as compared to the same time last year. Despite these concerning trends, we’re proud of the new ways our coaches have maintained meaningful connections with our players, including regular wellness checks, Zoom calls, and next-level remote programs that reward kids for connecting with teammates, practicing their skills, contributing to their families, and staying active. However, with school back in session, it’s obvious they are experiencing remote engagement fatigue. They want to be in person, playing and learning together. However, in Lawrence, those options aren't possible. These challenges have forced us to rethink our approach and emphasize collaboration in our comeback, like the addition of volleyball through Beyond Volley. We're also refocused on strategic steps and advocacy...READ MORE
We pivoted after shutting down our programs in March and found new ways to keep our athletes engaged and motivated! Health & Wellness Director, Lindsey McArdle, together with our youth jobs cohort (although smaller than years past), developed two, 6-week remote programs. Daily challenge themes, i.e., #FridayFitness, #TuesdayConnect & #ThankfulThursday were shared by our Coach Mentors and participation points were awarded as kids jumped on Zoom calls, sent pictures/videos of themselves helping around the house, connecting with a teammate or community member, completing 10,000 daily steps, or making healthy smoothies, for example. Here's Grade 4 Storm Eder, completing Lindsey's Week 1 #WellnessWednesday Smoothie challenge. (We'll work on limiting the sugar, but it's a great start!)
Coach Adam Tran & Coach Will Inirio safely delivering challenge prizes to Thunder and Storm team players, Carlos and Eric. More than 35 grand prizes were distributed weekly to players, including game jerseys, school supplies, sports equipment, and even computers (see below)! We also developed a second remote program, or BeyondFit program focused more on endurance, foot skills and volleyball drills.
My favorite challenges are the ones that are involved with exercising, and the difficult challenges because it keeps me moving, and keeps me from not being lazy. Something I’ve learned is to keep working hard for something that I want to succeed. I want to succeed in soccer, and I know working hard on my exercises (through these challenges) will help me get to where I want to succeed. “- 9th Grade Player
What does Marino Valdez, Beyond Volley's NEW Director of Volleyball Program have to say about these remote program efforts? (READ MORE!)
My comfort zone has changed.
Everyone is so welcoming, and you don’t feel judged at all”-Nathalia
After teaming up with Marino & Leti Valdez, our family grew “beyond" soccer in March. The timing wasn't ideal, but who could've predicted this devastating pandemic. We lost our indoor space and our ability to be in person with our players. However, in hindsight, perhaps the timing was just right, as this collaboration has strengthened our resolve and highlighted teamwork in solving challenging problems, like COVID-19, including finding effective ways to support, mentor, and guide young people in Lawrence. Marino and Leti, as Director and Assistant Director of Beyond Volley, have stepped up since March, ensuring that 75 players and growing are supported every day of the week, through daily activities, challenges, words of encouragement, individual wellness check-ins, and lots of Zoom sessions, like with Raquel Quezada (see bellow) or Denny Cespedes, one of the top volleyball referees in the world (yes, the world!) demonstrate the incredible #teameffort with a lot more effort required ahead. 
RAQUEL QUEZADA -A mother of 4 children, including one child with a disability, has used her experiences, including as a former fellow at LEND Children Hospital & member of MA Developmental Disability Council in Boston, to...READ MORE
Before Celia Murphy became part of our youth jobs team 4 yrs ago, she was a member our 6th-grade girl's squad in 2012. Celia joined us when she least expected it. It was during her brother's baseball practice. Celia was intrigued when Steph’s mom Ellen, was coaching on the same field. We’re grateful that Celia & Ellen crossed paths that day. Without Celia, Beyond Soccer wouldn’t be where it is today. She's so much more than a former player. She’s a coach, a mentor and an inspiration to so many kids in our programs, on and off the field.
Summer after summer, Celia has helped plan, run, and develop curriculum. She brings an energy and commitment that is unparalleled, and her attention to the details is unmatched. Just ask her peers! She keeps us all organized.
Dream Big! Partner Spotlight
One of our first-ever partners was Dream Big!, founded by Linda Driscoll in 2011 to provide inner city girls with the equipment needed to succeed in sports. Flash forward, almost a decade later, Dream Big! continues to support Beyond Soccer & most recently, Beyond Volley players and teams. This year, after opening up an application to girls in MA to share how equipment would help their athletic goals, 4 girls of our players were selected! This meant a $500 shopping spree at Dream Big!'s warehouse in Newton! They came back with everything from clothing to cleats, knee pads, sports bras and ball, but most importantly, a feeling that people, even strangers, care about their success on and off the fields and courts.
Read about our efforts distributing laptops to kids thanks to a generous donor!
Support our year-round soccer & volleyball efforts so more of THIS happens!
Read about long-time player, Paris, a freshman at Phillips, playing soccer too!