After working as a soccer coach for several years, Corey Childs wanted to build a program that catered to the needs of the Annapolis Latino population and used soccer as a vehicle for outreach. He had attended a Soccer Without Borders program and wondered why the Latino population was not participating. Wanting to address the barriers to entry for Latinos and to use soccer as a vehicle for character, personal, and emotional development, he founded his own program, Goals for Growth.
Childs began by starting a pilot program at Annapolis Middle School. At the program, students don’t just get the chance to play soccer, they develop and stick to academic and personal goals and develop friendships.
Childs meets with his mentor, Bob Whitfield, about once every three months. Bob has helped him develop the structure of the nonprofit that Childs wants to start. Childs has also gained insight from attending SCORE’s small business owner workshops. He used these sessions to network and discover new areas of opportunity.
Childs’s outreach and retention efforts were extremely successful, with a fourth of Annapolis Middle School students participating week after week. Childs has also expanded the program to include elementary school students. He also hosted a mini-clinic at a local elementary school, made connections with families, and got elementary school students signed up.
Roxana Rodriguez, who sits on the board for Centro de Ayuda, an organization that supports the local Latino population, told The Capital Gazette, “I am fascinated with the program and what Corey is doing. Kids are coming back to him, getting school projects done and understanding better the requirements needs in school to be able to play. Listening to personal stories and making personal connections to soccer — that is what makes a difference.”