KICS Enrichment embraces our VALUE of educating and empowering kids by providing opportunities for youth employment and building a foundation of life skills. We believe in fostering a culture of learning that allows players to experience success in their lives and to encourage leadership in their local and global communities. KICS has already guided over 100 teens and pre-teens through the process of becoming state qualified soccer referees. Further, KICS hires these referees year-round and pays them an excellent wage. This is an example of our Teen Work Initiative and the tangible value of learning a new life skill that will continue to offer employment for years to come. KICS aims to scale our enrichment programming by offering additional employment opportunities and educational programs. More specifically, offering practical lessons to teens and pre-teens on how to handle money wisely, establishing a solid foundation for doing so when they become adults. Focusing on teaching kids how to save money, the importance of giving and much more.
KICS Healthy Kids
KICS Healthy Kids focuses on our VALUE of educating youth and families about childhood obesity and keeping children active through sport. In partnership with Mercy Hospital nursing staff and foundation, we began measuring youth players in our Chicago KICS programs. Our results show a very healthy average BMI of 16.87 and an obesity/overweight rate of only 14.5% – this statistic is outstanding compared to the average inner city obesity/overweight rate of over 30%. We are continuing to work with US Soccer Foundation and other stakeholders to encourage a healthy average BMI for youth participating in KICS programming.
KICS In The Park
KICS in the Parks focuses on our VALUE and belief that parks are a crucial part of any community. They have a significant impact on the development of children and the happiness of everyone in the neighborhood. KICS consistently works with the City of Chicago, Chicago Park District, Park Advisory Councils, local politicians and other stakeholders to improve and develop parks, playing fields and facilities for Chicago youth and families. One great success story has been the transformation of Dunbar Park over the last 10 years from a rarely used and heavily abused public space, into a vibrant park that is now busy 7 days a week. As part of our strategic plan, KICS aims to develop both an indoor and outdoor facility by 2021 in the Near South or Near West neighborhoods of Chicago to advance our programming and mission.
KICS Cultural Exchange
Cultural exchange is a key part of the KICS Foundation mission, as we strongly believe in the importance of teaching kids the VALUE of working for the equality and understanding of all – which is exactly what we aim to do through providing a number of programs for cultural exchange. Today, KICS offers these opportunities through our International Showcase, International Team Tours and our Soccer for Success At-Risk youth scholarships abroad. As we connect with those of different backgrounds, cultural upbringings and communities than our own, it becomes more and more clear that not only do our differences contribute to a unique and wonderful global society, but that there are often more similarities amongst us than we would expect.
KICS For All
KICS For All is an extremely important VALUE that fosters diversity and an inclusive environment for all players. KICS proudly serves youth from a broad range of multicultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. We base our everyday decisions and efforts on the integrity of the needs of our players and community. We approach our work with open communication and accountability. We embrace our diverse community as part of our strength-based approach to create a culture of access and inclusion. We make a difference and effect change through intentional collaboration. We use just, inclusive and equitable practices focused on the needs of our players and community to foster positive social change. KICS is committed to welcoming more at-risk youth, international exchange players and girls to the sport of soccer through targeted programs such as Soccer for Success and our International Showcase.