The Socorro Independent School District was awarded a $5,000 grant from the PepsiCo Foundation to assist its Volunteer After School Sports Program at Capt. Walter E. Clarke Middle School.
As SISD students played a VASSP soccer game on the field at Clarke Middle School, PepsiCo representatives and State Rep. Mary Gonzalez presented a check to Dr. Carmen Olivas-Graham, a director in SISD administrative services, who represented Team SISD.
“This donation recognizes all of the efforts that parents and other volunteers have made to support their little ones,” Graham said.
VASSP is an intramural sports and community outreach program designed to provide after-school physical activity for students, provide volunteer parental involvement, and help students attain more interest in their school grades.
The program, which is open to all male and female students in pre-k through sixth grade, offers soccer in the fall and track and field in the spring.
“This is a blessing for these kids,” said Ronald Promesse, VASSP coordinator. “This is going to help a lot. From a safety perspective, it will help purchase small generators to light the fields. We will be able to buy soccer shoes and socks for those kids who can’t afford it. We also are going to purchase soccer nets and balls.”
Team SISD currently has more than 1,500 students and 300-plus parent volunteers in the VASSP program, Promesse said. In addition, parents have put in about 18,000 volunteer hours in the program.
Parents, who loyally show up to every practice and game, love the way the program helps their children stay active and learn about teamwork.
They also like that every child gets a chance to play, no matter their athletic ability.
“It’s very important that a child gets the chance to join a team and play a sport they enjoy,” said Jessica Serrata, whose son Joshua, 7, is on the Loma Verde Elementary soccer team. “It makes it even more fun when they get to play with their classmates. My son has been so excited since joining. This is such a worthwhile program.”