Friday, July 11, 2014

Nana Asare: A Determined DC SCORES Alum

A former DC SCORES participant, Nana Asare, is moving to Vermont this fall for his freshman year at Johnson State College. He will be the first member of his family to attend college. Just this mere fact alone is remarkable. Yet, 18-year-old Nana has overcome many additional obstacles to be where he is today.

Born in Ghana, Nana moved to the United States when he was toddler. Even as a young boy, Nana dreamed of becoming a professional soccer player. However, when Nana was hit by a car while crossing a street in second grade, his world was shaken. The impact of the car resulted in Nana breaking his femur in his left leg and fracturing his skull.

Worried about his health, Nana’s parents thought he should end his soccer career and pursue other goals. However, even eleven surgeries later, Nana was resilient in his goal of becoming a professional soccer player.

“Nana has been a paragon of determination since the accident,” writes DC SCORES, “but it took him awhile to develop the focus and discipline that allowed him to juggle playing varsity soccer and academics at Wilson High School.”

Nana isn’t shy to admit it—he was hard-headed and full of behavioral issues during his early years at Brightwood Education Campus. That is, until he joined DC SCORES in the fourth grade and met soccer coach, Shannon Nelson.

“She became a mentor-mother figure while I was at school,” describes Nana. “She just made sure I had the right necessary tools to learn and live the life that I want to live. To this day we still keep in contact.”

With Coach Nelson’s influence, day by day, Nana became a kinder classmate and better student.

Nana spent five years as a DC SCORES participant at Brightwood and then Paul Public Charter School, playing soccer — of course — but also learning to express himself through the art of poetry. Writing poetry helped Nana develop public speaking and leadership skills.

Now, Nana is following in Coach Nelson’s footsteps and paving the way for others. He is braving the heat this summer and working at Marie Reed Elementary School as a Summer Youth Employment Program worker at DC SCORES’ Soccer & Arts camp.

Nana has taken one child, Jonathan, under his wing because he sees so many similarities to his younger self. Jonathan is a hard-headed kid who loves soccer.

“He’s just been that one kid that I can say I’ve seen myself in when I look at him. I’ve been a knucklehead, I’ve been hard-headed, I’ve been stubborn at his age. It just takes that one person to have you under their wings to guide you the right way and you’ll be good.”

One City Youth wishes Nana the best of luck in college and congratulate him on his accomplishments!

Read Nana’s full story and see more photos from DC SCORES on the DC SCORES blog.

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