This week is National Teacher Appreciation week. At the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility we know how valuable teachers are to our nation’s youth. Not only do they provide them with the tools to succeed in life, but they also encourage and empower them to say YES to a healthy lifestyle and NO to underage drinking.
We feel as if just talking about appreciating teachers isn’t enough. We want to show you. One of our partners DC SCORES is a prime example of how much impact a teacher, a mentor, can make on a kid’s life. DC SCORES has helped the city’s youth become confident and strong young people and we’re thrilled to show you a story from one of their most tenured. Find below a blog written by DC SCORES, highlighting the unique teaching styles of Daryl Forte. A neighborhood celebrity among the kids and volunteer of energy, he has been devoted to bettering the lives of the kids of Burrville Elementary School for over a decade. Thank you, Daryl for your commitment to educating our future leaders and being a positive influence on kid’s decisions to live healthily! We appreciate YOU!
Daryl Forte, 41, grew up in the neighborhood and attended Burrville Elementary School during the 1970s when there were no programs available like DC SCORES. Following college, he worked in the federal government for a few years all while feeling the tug of his old school and neighborhood.
In the late 1990s, Forte returned and has been changing lives ever since. During the school day, he teaches physical education and listens to any problems his students feel comfortable sharing with him. Once the bell rings, he take his no-nonsense approach outside to teach youth the game of soccer and what it means to be on a team.
“I take seriously being a role model for the kids and just (them) knowing that they have me to come to,” Forte said.
Forte stands on a small dirt patch near the goal he’s breaking down. About 25 years ago when he was in kindergarten, this was where the school building stood. By the time he entered first grade, the new structure was in place. But it would be decades before Burrville had a soccer team.
“When I was coming up, we didn’t have programs like DC SCORES,” Forte said. “As a matter of fact, for me, I didn’t get into athletics until middle school.”
A couple years after Forte returned to his home neighborhood to teach, DC SCORES arrived at Burrville. He jumped at the chance to coach a sport he had always loved but not had the chance to play.
“I try to encourage the kids through coaching,” Forte said. “You have an opportunity to have what I didn’t have,” he tells them.
Forte has the build of a middle linebacker, and during girls and boys games he paces the sideline constantly encouraging his players in a loud, boisterous voice. “Shoot, shoot!” he yells when a girl nears the opposing goal.
But when the game is over, Forte’s even-keeled demeanor returns regardless of the outcome. After all, like Jenkins, he is one of the school’s most recognizable faces. Everything he says and does will be mimicked by his young student-athletes.
He’s a leader of not just a soccer team, but a community.
“With the coaches, we also try to encourage the kids that we’re all one family,” Forte said. “We win together, we lose together, and at the end we’ll celebrate together as a family.”
As darkness sweeps over the empty field, Forte can’t imagine his life without Burrville. Growing up, any sports coaches he did have never stayed for long. He didn’t get the chance to be a part of a strong school community molded together through athletics.
“Community wise, it means a lot being able to walk the same hallways that the kids are now walking,” Forte said, “and share with them some of my experiences being a youth in the neighborhood.”
Blog & photo courtesy of DC SCORES