British Columbia

Burnaby soccer and slam poetry program scores with students

A Burnaby after-school program combines two things that don't conventionally go together: soccer and slam poetry. The Early Edition's Elaine Chau asks the kids involved to give us their grade.

The Canada SCORES program wants to help at-risk elementary school kids find their voice

Fotima Amirova (left) and Jacob Insario (right) are two of the participants in the Canada SCORES program in Burnaby. (Elaine Chau)

"They're fun, and they help us with our writing and stuff."

That's how Grade 5 student Jacob Insorio describes the activities he gets to do as part of the Canada SCORES program at Edmonds Community School in Burnaby.

The after-school program combines slam poetry and soccer, with students rotating between the field and the classroom.

On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, they hone their ball-kicking skills. 

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, they learn how to write and perform poetry.

Kevin Yang, the executive director of Canada SCORES Vancouver, said he's seen a real difference in the kids after they enroll in the program.

"At the beginning of the program, they'll never be able to come up to a mic and read their poems. But put them in a team environment, like soccer, and it helps boost their confidence."

Volunteer coaches also become mentors, Yang said.

"We want to build that stable everlasting relationship with our kids, so they have an adult to look up to."

On Tuesday night, the kids will perform their latest works at the second annual Canada SCORES Poetry Slam at Edmonds Community School from 6:15 to 8 p.m. PT.

To hear the full story, listen to the audio labelled: Soccer meets slam poetry in Burnaby