NFL, MLB, CFL stats

D.C. United sponsors local artist's youth project

June 12, 2007 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - D.C. United News Release

Washington, D.C. (June 12, 2007) - D.C. United and its non-profit arm, United for D.C., announced today a comprehensive partnership with local artist Tendani Mpulubusi, CEO of Solidgrounds, LLC. The partnership will support the development of his initiative, Youth Empowerment through Fine Arts. The former AmeriCorps volunteer will lead a creative arts workshop for Ward 8 youth, ages 12-17 beginning June 19. The program will take place on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays thereafter from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Ft. Stanton Recreation Center.

"We had the pleasure of meeting Tendani at various functions in Ward 8 over the past year," said Stephen Zack, Sr. Vice President of D.C. United and President of the United for D.C. Board of Directors. "During this time, he shared with us his vision for this program and we think it is an ideal addition to our pre-existing community programming. We're happy to support artistic growth East of the River."

Mpulubusi will recruit participants through an open enrollment process. Parents are encouraged to be involved and pledge support for their child's participation. The initiative will cover a range of subjects, from self and community image perception exercises to art history and technical training in drawing and painting. Some assignments will include a comic strip and figure drawings. The workshop, which culminates in a group project, will incorporate several field trips, including a day at a museum and Aquatic Gardens.

"The goal of this program is to confront the negative self and community image perception of urban youth," said Mpulubusi. "While using the arts to create positive images of themselves and environment, participants naturally embrace a positive view of themselves. With support from D.C. United, I know that through field studies and hands on experience, young people will learn how to use their creative talents and hobbies in professional and business applications."

Mpulubusi, a resident of Ward 8, is a long-time local artist, environmentalist, and community activist. He recently contributed ten of his original art pieces to be featured at Mayor Adrianne Fenty's inaugural ball at the D.C. Convention Center. Last summer, he wrote and directed the Summer Arts Program New Alliance of Lincoln Heights Resident Council New Communities Initiative. Included in his involvement with numerous activist groups, he was the creator and chair of the Youth Engagement and Outreach Committees for the "Forty Days of Increased Peace/Safe Summer '06 Initiative," as well as a chair of the Youth Engagement Committee for Friends of the Anacostia Museum.

This partnership is the latest of a host of community outreach ventures by United for D.C. Through the Kicks for Kids program, more than 10,000 underprivileged children will have an opportunity to watch United play this season alone. United Soccer Club was recently expanded to two locations in Ward 8. The after-school soccer initiative hosted more than 90 students, twice a week and produced a U-10 team, which participated in the Soccer on the Hill League at Anacostia Park this spring. United Reads, presented in four DC elementary schools, distributed nearly 8,000 books during player visits to each classroom throughout the spring.

On the team level, the United Drives program has gathered more than 1,000 books and soccer items at home games this season for distribution to needy recipients, United Builds has arranged for hundreds of volunteer hours at a variety of partnering programs and D.C. United Soccer Geography is utilized in more than 300 classrooms assisting more than 14,000 students better grasp the world around them. In addition, the club recently raised nearly $21,000 in a jersey auction to benefit the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund and donated $50,000 to the Capitol Hill Community Foundation.

For more information on these programs or how fans can contribute time or money to these worthy causes, please contact United for D.C. Program Manager Sara Rabe (202-587-5434 or [email protected] ) or D.C. United Community Relations Manager Aprile Pritchet (202-587-5453 or [email protected] ).

• Discuss this story on the Major League Soccer message board...

Major League Soccer Stories from June 12, 2007

The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

OurSports Central