Portland Timbers, Thorns FC and sponsors provide match experience for children with Tix for Kids program

Since 2011, the Timbers and Thorns have provided over 3,000 tickets for kids across Portland

With the 2014 MLS season well underway, the Portland Timbers have hosted more than just the diehard faithful in the North End come the weekend. With the Tix for Kids program, community organizations have been able to bring local youth to see professional soccer in the confines of Providence Park.

Tix for Kids has been a part of the Timbers organization since 2011. Each season, nearly 3,000 local kids have been able to watch a match through the program, which is open to local, youth-focused nonprofits that may benefit from it. One organization that visited a Timbers match recently was Adelante Chicas, a Latina youth development program based in Forest Grove.

“It was a great experience especially because for most of them this was their first [game] so they had an amazing time, “ said Site Facilitator Emely Castañeda. “They were cheering and they were standing up on the stands.”

Adelante Chicas partners with local public schools to provide after school programming, leadership and community service opportunities as part of a larger parent organization, Adelante Mujeres.

Getting the girls out to a professional soccer game is just part of the diverse offerings by the program, which includes field trips, academic opportunities and physical education.

“We’re actually going to start a soccer academy next week so this was a way to motivate them,” said Castañeda.

The group from Forest Grove also brought a group of kids to the match against the Columbus Crew, and attended a Portland Thorns FC soccer clinic the next day as part of the involvement with the program.

Tix for Kids provides opportunities to both Timbers and Thorns games, and partners with sponsors Alaska Airlines, Burgerville, JELD-WEN, KPTV, NW Natural, PGE and Providence Health & Services to make tickets readily available.

The program serves any non-profit organization that provides similarly-minded programming to under-served youth in the state of Oregon. Those looking to apply are encouraged to do so here.