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South Bronx United hoping to educate more kids through soccer

Five Bronx community organizations have submitted entries for grants through the Pepsi Refresh Project, a monthly program sponsored by the soft-drink giant that awards up to $250,000 to organizations across the country.

The South Bronx United, a youth soccer league, which was the subject of a feature story in October, is in the running for a $25,000 grant. Joining it are three local youth development programs — Good Shepherd Services, Elevate New York, and Project Life Impact — and P.S 170, in Highbridge, which is hoping for a grant to restart its after-school arts program that was closed due to budgetary constraints this year.

“This grant would be a huge step towards helping us to sustain and hopefully expand our Education Through Soccer program for South Bronx youth,” said Andrew So, executive director of the South Bronx United, in an email. “It would directly fund resources for our college preparatory program, college visits, and after-school tutoring, so that we can reach our goal of getting every one of our youth to graduate high school and into college.”

The organizations are reliant on votes at the project’s web site in order to collect the prize money. Since February, more than a dozen ideas have been proposed to provide money for services in the Bronx. All have come up short in the voting.

These five programs are hoping those fortunes change this time around.

Recently, the South Bronx United started an after-school tutoring program for more than 100 kids on its travel soccer teams. In three years, the soccer league has grown to serve almost 450 boys and girls in the Bronx, with 50 volunteer coaches and six travel squads.

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