- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Washingtonians will get a kick out of helping local children Thursday at the 2009 DC Scores Soccer Ball, sponsored by the restaurant management group Latin Concepts at the Organization of American States.

DC Scores, the country’s largest after-school soccer and literacy program, was founded locally by Georgetown graduate Julie Kennedy to instill the values of “teamwork, leadership and commitment” through soccer, poetry and service learning.

Ms. Kennedy explains that the skills learned in soccer will benefit children, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, in school as well as in life. A former teacher, she started the group in 1994 to take what she had learned as an educator to help the community.

“I grew up playing soccer and was a voracious reader and writer. When I started teaching, it was natural for me to want to teach them the things that I knew best, that had captured my imagination as a child.

“As I taught them, I also discussed my ideas with my roommates and friends who had themselves considered starting programs or sports leagues, which helped gel my idea of taking the two activities I was teaching my students, soccer and creative writing, and turning them into a program for students across the D.C. public schools,” she says of the program, which has expanded to 12 cities across the country.

DC Scores serves 700 local students at 23 public and charter schools in the District, where childhood obesity and illiteracy rates are staggering.

Amy Nakamoto, DC Scores’ executive director, says Thursday’s ball will cast an optimistic light on a grim problem.

“We really tried to plan a fun, upbeat, yet reasonable fundraiser that will help us accomplish our goals while being mindful of the slow economic climate in which we are living,” she explains of the ball, which seeks to raise $100,000.

The evening will begin with a VIP champagne reception and feature a Casa Noble tequila-tasting station as well as signature dishes from restaurants Yaku, Mate and Chi Cha Lounge. Students in the program will be guests and will recite their poetry.

For more information, visit www.dcscores.org.

Soccer fashionistas

You’ve heard of soccer moms and hockey moms. But what about soccer wives? They’re tough fashionistas who like to raise money for causes close to their families.

One of them is Nadine Namoff, the better half of D.C. United’s Bryan Namoff. After losing her father to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1995, she dug in her heels to raise money to support leukemia-related research and awareness.

After years of traditional fundraising and involvement with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Mrs. Namoff is branching out with a new kind of event she says fits right in with the fashionably refreshed Washington scene.

At 7:30 p.m. on May 7 at the Peacock Grand Cafe on K Street Northwest, she and her sponsor, Land Rover’s America’s Polo Cup, will present Couture for a Cure, a fashion show and reception featuring 12 soccer players and local A-listers as models.

“I’ve noticed D.C. being more on the fashionable side, and I wanted to do something that brought my two favorite things together, soccer and fashion,” Mrs. Namoff explains.

She tells us the show will feature designs from Lost Boys, Tsyndyma, Aidah and Evelyn Brooks and jewelry by Wendy Jarmol.

James Cornwell will do hair and makeup for the models, who will include WUSA’s Angie Goff and Washington Redskins cheerleaders.

Local style guru and bon vivant Paul Wharton will be the master of ceremonies.

Don’t expect the wives to work the runway, however. They have the evening off, thank you very much.

Carrie Hicks, married to Doug Hicks, D.C. United’s vice president of communications, says, “I appreciate the irony, sometimes, of our guys putting emphasis on fashion, even though the women tend to dress them most of the time.”

“We are going to be on the sidelines hollering for our husbands,” Mrs. Namoff volunteers, but she says, all kidding aside, that the event should raise $18,000 and bring in more than 300 attendees.

“You don’t generally associate soccer players with fashion because you see them on the field, and they always look dirty. But I told the guys they don’t have to do back flips for the show, just help a good cause, and they were happy to do it.”

Tickets to the event are $55 with all of the proceeds going to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Buy tickets at https://nca.llsevent.org/ |couture4cure.

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