NEW YORK, April 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Karter Harris, an elementary school student from Cleveland, had never left her hometown before – but all that was about to change. After participating in America SCORES afterschool soccer and poetry program for two years, Harris' accomplishments on the field and in the classroom brought her before President Obama and members of the Major League Soccer champion LA Galaxy in Washington, DC last week. Next week she will be in New York City to perform at the 7th Annual America SCORES National Poetry SLAM!
"I always wanted to travel out of Cleveland. I was excited because I was going to meet The President but I was scared because I thought I would get homesick," Harris says. When President Obama walked into the room, "my heart just stopped. I stood up and clapped as hard as I could because I was just so excited and happy to meet him."Harris was among 25 America SCORES elementary school student participants, or "poet-athletes," invited by the First Lady to join President Obama in celebrating the LA Galaxy's MLS championship and to participate in a Let's Move event with the professional athletes. Using soccer and poetry to improve health and literacy among urban youth, America SCORES participants increase physical fitness, and improve grammar, writing mechanics, and overall academic engagement. Trips to Washington, DC and New York are unique and special experiences for kids like Karter. Each year, thousands of poet-athletes work toward the chance to perform at the National Poetry SLAM!, which includes time to play soccer and perform poetry with their "teammates" from each of the fourteen cities served by America SCORES. After twelve weeks in the fall season of this afterschool writing program, local performances, and regional auditions, the select representatives will have three days to explore the Big Apple and perform poetry for a live audience at the centre of global commerce. The America SCORES National Poetry SLAM! will take place at the New York Stock Exchange on April 8 th, 2013 from 7pm – 10pm . Senator Schumer has proclaimed April 8 th as America SCORES National Poetry SLAM! Day in New York. In addition. First Lady Michelle Obama, Governor Cuomo, and Mayor Bloomberg have all written letters of support. A benefit for America SCORES, funds raised bring more soccer playing and poetry performing opportunities to elementary and middle school youth in under resourced urban communities around the country. The event is made possible with support from adidas, ICAP, Southwest Airlines, and Volkswagen. Visit www.americascores.org/nps2013 for more information. Following her successful performance at the local poetry SLAM! in Cleveland, Harris will perform her poem "My Dream" at the National Poetry SLAM! in New York next week. Joining America SCORES in the third grade, Harris credits America SCORES soccer, poetry and travel opportunities for transforming her from a shy young student into a "local superstar". "My dream is to be saluted by the President of the United States. My dream is to live in Los Angeles California, To be an actress and make it big. I can see it now, the paper headlines: 10 year old girl makes it as a big time…"Excerpt from "My Dream" poem by Karter H., age 10 Cleveland "When I started, I didn't really know anything – but I worked my way up to get better…. Now a lot of grown ups tell me I'm on my way to being someone big one day."