A Sidekick gets serious

When asked how he got to Dallas from his hometown in Queens, New York, Doc Lawson explains that he was “rescued.” The former Dallas Sidekick says soccer skills saved him from an uncertain future, and now through his inner-city kids’ soccer program, Citibeat, Lawson is in the business of rescuing others.

Lawson began forming Dallas inner-city leagues three years ago in cooperation with the Parks and Recreation Department. Through funding by major sponsors, he is able to provide uniforms and equipment to kids 14 and under.

But Citibeat is more than an athletics program. Citibeat strives to instill both self-esteem and a spirit of cooperation among participants. Kids are taught that they are valuable additions to society and that there are many positive alternatives to violence and drugs. The program has also served as a template for others across the country, including one formed last year in San Antonio and one currently forming in Houston.

This summer Citibeat expands its program with camps and a mentoring program where kids will visit with professionals in all different types of businesses and organizations. “Exposure is the key,” says Lawson. “These kids must see that there is somewhere to go.”

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