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Dear Beyond Soccer Family and Friends,

We hope this note finds you and your family healthy and well as we work to stay connected. While our traditional programming, like our rec league (pictured above from last spring), has been affected by this pandemic, we're reminded of the " beyond " in our name that means our care, concern and support goes far beyond the fields. 
We haven’t slowed down and remain committed to supporting Lawrence youth who are disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Food insecurity and education disruptions implore us to do more, which is why community-based organizations, like us, are doubling down on efforts to address these issues. Here's our response, including adding a 2nd sports hook, developing new ways to engage players, championing collaborative sports efforts and guaranteeing youth jobs. 
This challenging pandemic has fast-tracked the start of Beyond Volley so we can be better and more unified for Lawrence youth!
We miss our in-person interactions, but we're keeping busy through Team WhatsApp groups, with constant player-coach challenges, like Adam's weekly skillz 👆🏽 , plus trivia, at-home scavenger hunts & fitness. We're developing a 6-week online summer program & our YouTube channels are getting updated daily with lots of sport, health, leadership, mental health, nutrition & academic resources!
Our first highlight! Rising 9th grader, Paris Vega, a dedicated & ambitious Wolverine who has been with us for 3½ yrs. She's participated in every on-and-off the field program with incredible enthusiasm, like overnight Yarmouth Colts Camp in Maine which she credits as one of her favorite soccer experiences. Paris makes a lasting impression, and we’re thrilled to share that she will be attending   Phillips Andover Academy  this fall!

Read her full Q & A here!
 Beyond Soccer has been contributing to several NPO workings groups to address COVID-19. One of those groups, Youth & Schools , meets weekly via Zoom. With nonprofit friend, YDO, and many other awesome organizations, we’ve focused on youth employment and elevating the youth voice to determine impact & next steps. This resulted in the City's first Youth Summit , with 70+ students, a Q & A with State Representative, Lori Trahan, and 45-minute breakout sessions with candid shares between young people related to their fears, concerns & hopes as we try to comeback as a community and get back to work.

We were extra proud of our 12 soccer & volleyball players who reported they "felt empowered and important." As you know, we're also especially committed to our summer jobs cohort, which we plan on funding this summer.
Make sure you follow WeAreLawrence for everything related to COVID-19 resources.
Read more about the City's response by one of the lead partners, GWL . #TeamEffort
As most know,  Lawrence Sports Leadership Academy  is one of our biggest, annual events. The foundation of this effort is collaboration. Pitched to  LHS  Athletic Dept 5 years ago --an all inclusive, multi-sport, health, leadership, nutrition, mental health, fitness experience in Lawrence-- with co-founder,  Everyone's A Player , they were ALL-IN, and LSLA was born!

This August ( 🤞 ) we’re heading into year 5, with these important connections leading to even more sports group participation and more discussion around resource sharing, or the ‘ rising tide lifts all boats' approach. Our network has also grown and includes wonderful folks, like Dr. Ira Martin of  Prepare2Perform   👆🏽 who hosted his second Zoom call with LHS student athletes on 5/20. We’re also championing more collaborative work with a host of other organizations, like our 5/19 & 5/26 Youth Sports Safe & Collaborative Comeback Zoom. Our goal is to return more unified from this pandemic, so we can be better for our city youth.
We've been reminded of our important responsibilities to our players, families, partners & staff, or mostly college-aged students who lead our teams & rely on seasonal coaching stipends to pay their bills & work toward their long-term career goals. Because of that, we want to give special recognition to John & Lydia Smith, who stepped in with a generous donation so we could meet those charges, including paying 100% of our staff, who are working hard to keep our players engaged, connected & moving! #WinWin
Donor Spotlight: To say we’re beyond grateful and hopeful to be selected for a  #CummmingsGrant  is a complete understatement! Thank you,  Cummings Foundation  for investing in our team approach in Lawrence. We let the Inirios, who’ve been a big part of our Beyond Soccer family since 2007, do the special honors. You probably recognize this crew, including... current players Engel & Alejandro, former player, Omar, Gr. 4 boys Coach,  Will and recent college grad,  Oriagna , who played on our 1st girls team. We fondly recall dad-Guillermo (right) sharing that he couldn’t believe his kids weren’t playing his first love, baseball, which he played as a youth in DR. Well, 13 years later... ( full Instagram story )
3 Ways to Help Our Team Effort!