Non-profit works to transform Bay Area asphalt playgrounds to 'fields of dreams'

SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - A non-profit is working with Bay Area public schools to provide safe spaces for inner city students.

The program transforms asphalt playgrounds into a place of safety and community.

Edward Robeson Taylor Elementary is located in the Portola neighborhood. On Wednesday evening before the sun set, there was soccer practice for boys and girls.

"I feel happy because my dream is to be the best soccer player in the world," said 11-year-old Oscar Martinez.

It was once an asphalt playground. The field of dreams was installed just last fall.

One parent says the new turf has brought about a change in her daughter.

"This has made her want to come to school every day, get up and say, ‘Mom, I'm ready to go.' I say, ‘why is that Val?' She goes, ‘because I want to play on my turf on my magic carpet,'" said Veronica Valle.

It's part of a program in which the non-profit America SCORES partners with public schools to promote learning in a safe environment.

Edward Robeson Taylor is among six elementary schools in San Francisco that now have a field, funded by donations

"It changes unsafe spaces into beautiful green playgrounds for our kids and community," said Emily Queliza , associate director with America SCORES

Sanchez Elementary in the Mission hopes to be the next school to undergo the asphalt to turf transformation.

It's a way to level the playing field for inner city children by teaching them teamwork and fair play.

"Those are skills that help them make good decisions to avoid the temptations of gang involvement," said Larry Alegre, principal of Sanchez Elementary.

Oscar recited a poem he wrote about his mother, "When I feel lonely, I'm actually not. I always have you on my side." It's a ritual players perform before each game.

"It really is a new secret that no one knows about us. We're hoping that this will be a changing step," said Queliza.

It's a changing step with a goal of adding a total of 18 fields of dreams in neighborhoods serving low income families.

Learn more about Field of Dreams and how to make a donation here.