Glenbrook North High School Hosts Nixon

On Friday, May 6, Urban Initiatives’ Work to Play team from Nixon Elementary in Hermosa traveled to Northbrook for a Friday afternoon clinic at Glenbrook North High School. After a long ride in heavy traffic, Nixon had an amazing game day with the high school volunteers at Glenbrook North. Nixon Knights hit the ground running and wasted no time dividing themselves into teams with Glenbrook’s students. Senior Haley Goldberg said, “The kids were so excited to be there and even though we have never met before, we immediately bonded and became best friends. It was so much more than playing soccer. It was being active and having fun with their best friends outside on a beautiful day. They not only were using teamwork like professionals but were respecting each other and having a good time.”

The student volunteers were amazing. Anna Hirshman, a senior at Glenbrook North and member of Urban Initiatives’ Student Board, has organized this special game day for three years, and every year it has been a HUGE success. Singing, dancing, smiles, and, of course, soccer are the only way to describe the dynamic between Nixon players and Glenbrook North Volunteers. Lily from Glenbrook said, “The encouragement, energy, and fun was contagious and inspiring. It felt like we had been not only a team but friends for awhile. The laughs and stories we shared filled up my heart and I wish I could be with them every day.”
The Nixon Knights were not ready to leave their new friends after the game was over, but the day wrapped up with a delicious snack brought by the Glenbrook Volunteer team. THANK YOU Glenbrook North and Anna Hirshman for organizing an amazing day and spending your Friday afternoon with our team!
We couldn’t fit all the amazing feedback from the Glenbrook North volunteers into the story above, so you can read more of the highlights here:
  • Anna Hirshman: Personally, it was extremely rewarding to walk up to the field with the kids as they told me “I’ve been looking forward to this all week,” because I knew it was my school and my friends that were providing them with that joy. Bringing the kids to my high school was amazing because the Nixon kids enjoyed playing with my friends, but my friends and I may have enjoyed bonding with the kids even more. I watched as the volunteers and kids merged into cohesive teams. They disregarded any age discrepancies and just played soccer together. The Nixon kids’ positive energy and happiness is infectious. The attitudes emphasized by the Urban Initiatives community is truly remarkable and helps everyone feel good.
  • Julie Everakes: I loved playing with the kids. One of my highlights was the decision it took and the conversations made in picking a team name. We were the tiger warriors. One of the most creative team names I have ever had. These kids not only love to play, but they have an awesome imagination and spirit that was very evident in the fun they had. They also had great sportsmanship. My friend Evan, a high school volunteer, fell and a girl took his hand and helped him lift himself up even though he is over 6 feet tall. These kids were sweet, energetic, adn full of excitement and this program gives them an amazing outlet to not only play soccer, but learn some great life skills.”
  • Kayla Fox: I was so excited to be able to spend time with kids who wanted to be active and were willing to put forth so much effort. Their strong drive encouraged me to want to play harder. I loved being able to watch them begin to unfold what it means to be a “team” and helping them through that process was so rewarding.
  • Ashley Jeon: It was such a rewarding experience to see the smile on the kids’ faces from just playing soccer with their friends. They were not focused on the score of the game, but how much fun they were having. At one point, all of the girls started doing gymnastics, and they all cheered each other on. It was so much fun to play with these kids, and the experience was as rewarding for me as it was for them.
  • Allan Dontsis: It’s always a pleasure to take part in Urban Initiatives and play some soccer with them. The kids always put a smile on my face and bring so much energy.
  • Jordan Wolken: Interacting with the kids and seeing the smiles light up on their faces while playing a game they love made the experience totally worth it. You get a sense of personal gratitude when being responsible for another person’s fun, and that’s what volunteering with Urban Initiatives is all about.

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