Youth-Led Community Event Series

By Southwester Staff

Event organizers and winners of the Ward 6’s Pocket Change grant, Nate Green (left) and Neko Hagan; Courtesy of Author

Nate Green and Neko Hagan, 8th and 9th grade students at Jefferson Middle School Academy and Anacostia High School (respectively), will be hosting a series of six community events called Southwest Sports on a Truck at King Greenleaf Field between May 16 and June 27. 

These events will take place between 3–4:45 p.m., on Sunday afternoons and are designed to bring together young people for COVID-safe physical activity and social connection. SW Sports on a Truck events are designed for youth ages 7 and up, but participants of all ages are welcome. Activities will include kickball, flag football, sports stations, dodgeball, a water festival, and a community bike ride. 

Southwest neighbors will be able to find more information about the events and how to register on the SW Sports on a Truck Instagram page (@SW_SportsOnATruck). Each event is limited to 25 participants due to COVID-19 safety precautions. All participants are required to wear masks. 

Event organizers Nate and Neko started working on their plans for SW Sports on a Truck at the GOODLearning Hub, a virtual learning center run by GOODProjects in the EnVision and Southwest Family Enhancement and Career Center within the Greenleaf community. With support from teacher Alison Gillmeister from Capital Experience Lab, Nate and Neko used their time after virtual classes to submit an application to the annual Pocket Change micro grant competition sponsored by the Southwest Neighborhood Assembly and the Southwest BID. On Feb. 24, they pitched their idea for Southwest Sports on a Truck on Facebook Live. They were chosen as this year’s winners by a community vote. 

In the Pocket Change pitch, Nate shared how he and Neko saw their event series as a solution to a problem that has emerged during the pandemic: “The kids here, we have no sports to play and nothing to do…we wanted to try to bring that back with Sports on a Truck.” He encouraged audience members to think about how their events “could really enhance the community with something that a lot of kids partake in.” He also pointed to the potential for the event series to grow in the future: “You might look and see us, maybe in a couple of years, and it might be something big.” 

Four teams pitched ideas for community projects that could benefit Southwest. Southwest Sports on a Truck, the only entry from youth, received the most votes. The recording of all the Pocket Change pitches and the community vote are available on the SWBID Facebook page. 

Since winning the Pocket Change competition, Nate and Neko have been working to plan and launch their events. They participate in biweekly meetings with representatives of SWNA, the SWBID, and Capital Experience Lab to make sure that they have the support they need to take on a project like this for the first time.  

To find out more about the upcoming events, visit @SW_SportsOnATruck on Instagram. Registration launches May 1! 

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