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East Dallas neighbor launches soccer-centric afterschool program

Photo by Kim Leeson

Photo by Kim Leeson

Sometimes Lakewood neighbor Steve Christensen is struck by an idea that he just can’t let go of until it comes to fruition.

“I think I got that from my mom,” he muses.

Years ago, Christensen’s mom got it in her head to climb Mt. Everest. Christensen couldn’t let her go alone, so he accompanied her 22,000 feet to a Mt. Everest base in order to raise money for the Special Olympics.

“I just know what comes from being a part of a team. Things you don’t always get in a classroom — commitment, the purpose of being a part of a team, being a part of something bigger than yourself, confidence. And that’s not even including the health aspect of the activity.”

Christensen is the senior vice president at Christensen Wealth Management Group of Wells Fargo Advisors. He and his wife, Lauren, and their two young children live on Swiss. In 2003 Christensen founded Dallas SCORES, an after-school program centered on soccer, literacy and community service.

Christensen grew up playing soccer. He moved to Germany as a child, and although he didn’t speak the language, he did know how to play soccer.

“So that was my acceptance into the community,” he says.

Christensen went on to play soccer in college and then pro for a few years. When he moved to East Dallas with his family, he had a dream to use soccer as a hook to help kids.

“I just know what comes from being a part of a team. Things you don’t always get in a classroom — commitment, the purpose of being a part of a team, being a part of something bigger than yourself, confidence. And that’s not even including the health aspect of the activity.”

One day he heard about the national program SCORES and found out there wasn’t a Dallas branch. So he decided to start one himself. Aside from contributing $64,000 through his family’s philanthropic organization, The Christensen Family Foundation, he also raised funds in the community.

The program started with 100 students in 2003, and it has grown to helping more than 400 students in 10 schools in Dallas ISD.

The schools practice throughout the week and also work on creative writing. Then every Friday — game day — they play other schools.

The program is sponsored by Adidas, so each player receives a jersey, shin guards and other quality equipment.

Now Christensen and the others involved in SCORES have begun to see the fruits of their labor.

“We’ve been around long enough to have some of our kids come back and tell us what SCORES meant to them,” Christensen says. “It just validates all the hard work that we’ve put into this.”

Recently, he and Lauren also became involved in a local program called Helping Our Heroes, which every year sponsors a soldier who is coming back from war and helps him or her acclimate back into civilian society. 

Learn more at americascores.org/affiliates/dallas


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About the Author:

Brittany Nunn
BRITTANY NUNN is the Lakewood/East Dallas editor. Email bnunn@advocatemag.com