Monday, July 26, 2010

Meet the faces of PC 2010 - 2011!

As any reader of the PC & Youth Development blog has realized by now, the Graduate Fellows that work in our program are the lifeblood of everything that we do. They are the eyes, ears, and bodies on the "shop floor" that form close-knit relationships with our adolescent coaches, which allow us access into their lives, and give us an opportunity to impact them for the better.

This year we're extremely fortunate to have the services of 7 fantastic individuals at our disposal, all Masters of Arts in Teaching candidates at Smith College. Introducing....

Anna Bartolini

Anna graduated from Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina in 2007 with a BA in sociology. During her time at Furman, Anna coached a local high school girls’ lacrosse team and also played on her university’s club lacrosse team. After graduating, Anna spent one year in Namibia (in Southern Africa) working as an intern for a study abroad organization and volunteering with a children’s home. Upon returning to the US, Anna moved back to Massachusetts to work in the high school foreign exchange industry. Anna is now pursuing a Master’s in Teaching in at the elementary level. 

Kathleen Boucher

Kathleen Boucher has lived in the valley for the past six years. She graduated with honors from Amherst College in 2008 with a degree in sociology. During her time at Amherst she played varsity field hockey and lacrosse. This past spring Kathleen earned her Master's in Exercise & Sport Studies from Smith College. After serving as an assistant coach for Smith's field hockey and lacrosse teams for the past two years, she discovered her passion for youth sport and education. She is currently hoping to continue coaching at the youth level as well as teach at the elementary level.

Courtney Centeno

After spending three wonderful years in Brooklyn, Courtney is excited to be returning back to Western Mass where she grew up and went to undergraduate school. Courtney's passion for horseback riding sparked at the age of 10, but, as horseback riding is mostly an individual sport, she never fully grasped the notion of a "team" until she joined the varsity equestrian team during her first year at Mount Holyoke College.  Through the riding team, she was able to develop a new language and create a new family that was different from her family at home, as well as her social group of friends.  There is nothing like the bond that is created between people who share the same love and passion for sport. She hopes to teach high school English and Film Theory and use her summers to build a therapeutic riding program. Courtney looks forward to building on her love for sports and coaching through Project Coach, and to translate this to when she is teaching in the classroom and in the ring.  

Matthew MacKenzie

Matthew MacKenzie graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University in May 2010 with a BA in Religious Studies and Humanities-Classics. While at Ohio Wesleyan, Matthew competed in both Cross Country and Track and Field earning multiple All-Conference awards. Also during his undergraduate years he worked as a book editor and a staff assistant for OWU's GLBT center. Matthew is currently pursuing a Masters of arts in Teaching for middle school History.

Matthew Samolewicz

Matt graduated from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in May 2010 with a BFA in Painting. He is pursuing a Master of Arts in Teaching with a concentration in elementary education from Smith College. Matt is interested in the relationship between art-making and athletics and the ways any student can grow when fully engaged in their unique interests.

Kuna Tavalin

Kuna is a 2003 graduate of Brandeis University, where she was a member of the varsity soccer team. Upon graduation, Kuna moved to D.C., joining the staff of her home-state Senator, Vermont's Jim Jeffords. She focused on a variety of issues including early childhood education, housing, welfare, and childcare. After Senator Jeffords retired in 2007, Kuna joined the staff of Senator Sherrod Brown, working on policy surrounding transportation, housing, child welfare, and anti-poverty initiatives. Most recently, Kuna was the Public Policy Analyst for the National Disability Rights Network, working to advance the political agenda of individuals with disabilities.  Her primary focuses were special education, veterans issues, and crimes against individuals with disabilities.  Kuna has been a literacy tutor for the last six years, most recently working with sixth grade students with learning disabilities.

Marquis Taylor

Marquis Taylor graduated from Stonehill College in 2006 with a BA in Communication. While at Stonehill College, he was a member of the basketball team where he earned NCAA Northeast Regional MVP, First Team All Conference, Second Team All Conference, and All-American Nominations, and scoring over 1,000 points.  In addition, he worked at Brockton’s YMCA helping children between the age of 6-10 with their literacy. After graduation, Marquis worked as a Management Trainee for Accredited Home Lenders, then worked with Velocity Sports Performance, and before coming on board with Project Coach was an Asset Manager for Michel Associates Ltd. Michel Associates Ltd is a small real estate syndication firm in Boston that manages and develops apartment complexes for Low and Fixed Income households. After a great deal of reflection, he realized his true passion was working to find creative way to minimize the amount of social inequalities through education and sport.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

PC collaborates with Lawrence Rowing & Row4All

In an exciting new summer venture, Project Coach is proud to announce the recent launch of a partnership with the Greater Lawrence Community Boating organization, in conjunction with Row4All!

After working predominantly with programs that utilize soccer and basketball as their focal sports, PC is now expanding its reach to work with underserved youth in Lawrence who are striving to become coaches and mentors to younger children in a number of water-based activities, with a particular emphasis on rowing. Led by Coach Ellen Minzner - a former US Olympic rower - GLCB proudly hosts 16 dynamic youth coaches-in-training, who are spending the summer perfecting their craft of rowing on indoor 'erg' machines, before carrying their skills out on to the water, where they will become youth coaches within the organization. In addition, the program will utilize the high-action, maximum-participation rowing curriculum designed and administered by Margot Zalkind and her team at Row4All, including site coordinator for this summer initiative, Laura Hutchinson.

Project Coach staff - including six new graduate fellows who are currently in the early stages of pursuing a Masters of Arts in Teaching degree at Smith College - headed out to Lawrence, MA, last Friday for the first of three coaching academy workshops that put the GLCB youth through their paces as they strive to become exemplary coaches. Our initial session focused on the core ideas behind what coaching really entails, and why building a coaching philosophy built around the notion of "athletes first, winning second" is so important, and then considered the importance of effective communication when coaching successfully.

It became apparent very quickly that the youth selected for the summer program by Coach Minzner were incredibly vibrant and engaged, and would throw themselves into anything and everything that the PC team were asking of them. Both college students and high school students alike reveled in the icebreaker and team-building games that began the session, and started to form effective relationships that will no doubt continue to develop over subsequent weeks.

Likewise, GLCB youth were equally enthusiastic to immerse themselves in the coaching curriculum that PC had prepared. One activity asked coaches to consider the merits and deficiencies of different coaching styles, in order that they try to build for themselves an effective and balanced identity as a coach. In the excerpt below, Coach Juarner does a fantastic job of role-playing a coach that is excessively rigid, and who refuses to allow athletes any role in the teaching and learning process. The audience - as can be gauged from their reaction - were suitably impressed!

As can certainly be certainly be gleaned from this article, the PC team is relishing the chance to return to Lawrence this coming Friday to work with such a great group of youth coaches!