America SCORES AtlantaPoetry and soccer may seem like an unusual combination, but
not for America SCORES Atlanta, a free afterschool program addressing
illiteracy and obesity on the southwest side of the city.

Inspired Art, an annual fundraiser for the organization,
will be held on Thursday, Nov. 8, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Alston + Bird’s
offices at 1180 West Peachtree Street
. Twenty-five artists created and donated
works of art inspired by poems written by students in the program. Those works
of art will be on display and for sale by silent auction during the evening.
The event also will include a “paddle raise” to raise additional money for
America SCORES Atlanta. Several students from the program will be in attendance
to read their poetry.

Last year, Inspired Art raised $12,000 for America SCORES
Atlanta. The goal for this year’s event, the second annual, is to surpass that
number.

America SCORES Atlanta is an affiliate of the America SCORES
national organization. The program, now in its seventh year in Atlanta,
operates at Young Middle School and Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership
Academy.  This year, the program is
serving 125 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders. Participants in America SCORES
Atlanta attend the program two days a week from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The fundraiser
will help the program expand to more schools and students served.

America SCORES Atlanta participants engage in physical
activity by playing soccer, and develop reading and writing skills through
poetry-writing workshops. The program also offers students a chance to become
involved in their communities through service-learning projects.

Georgia currently ranks second in the nation in childhood
obesity. America SCORES Atlanta participants exercise three times as much as
their peers, and the SCORES soccer program has been shown to decrease obesity
among program participants by 11 percent over the course of the school year.

Only 74 percent of Georgia eighth-graders have reading
skills at or above a “basic” level, and only 28 percent have reading skills at
or above a “proficient” level.  America
SCORES Atlanta’s poetry component has been shown to improve students’ reading confidence
and writing skills. In addition, America SCORES Atlanta youth have fewer school
absences than their peers.

“America SCORES Atlanta provides students
with a healthy and educational option for after-school time,” McCrodden
said. “And our program is not only fun, but it’s free;
we pay for everything from shin guards to buses for field trips to poetry
notebooks.”

Summey Orr, Hartman Simons’ managing partner and an America
SCORES Atlanta board member, helped organize the fundraiser.

“This event will be an opportunity to show others the impact
America SCORES Atlanta is having in some of Atlanta’s economically
disadvantaged neighborhoods,” Orr said. “We are looking forward to a great
evening of art and community.”

Tickets are $40 each and will be
available at the door, from any board member and on the web at http://americascoresatlantaartinspiredevent.eventbrite.com.

About America SCORES

America SCORES
inspires urban youth to lead healthy lives, be engaged students, and have the
confidence and
character to make a difference in the world.

The program partners
with urban schools to provide a high quality, team-based program that
integrates soccer, poetry and service-learning. Our innovative approach
improves students’ health, academic achievement and
civic engagement.