Monday, October 4, 2010

Youth Voices on Participating in PC and more...

By PC Blog Correspondent Angela Navarro Fusillo

Friday was gray and rainy and instead of being out on the fields everyone moved into the school gyms. Four high school coaches shared their thoughts on Project Coach with us in a quieter room full of ping-pong tables adjacent to the courts.

TYISHA, a twelfth grader, described the elementary school players as
“hyper and pumped up”. She was told about Project Coach the day prospective coaches were to be interviewed by a coach who had already participated in the program. She usually coaches ten to twelve kids with the assistance of another coach. Between themselves they swap leadership positions. One of the main issues she identified was how quickly the players get bored so it is key to prepare multiple games to keep the players “active and engaged”. Tyisha hopes to go to culinary school after high school and spoke of how her grandfather finally taught her how to cook stuffed shells after many years of delayed stuffed shell promises.

JOHN, an eleventh grader, spoke of how Project Coach has helped him with
his academics since he is doing far more of his homework now that he is in the program compared to the amount of work he was doing at the beginning of the year. He believes that Project Coach keeps the kids “out of trouble”. John, who has been dancing salsa, merengue, bachata and hip-hop for about ten years, hopes that the experience he is gaining as a coach will help him become a dance instructor and open his own dance studio.

TRAVIS, a twelfth grader from Renaissance, described Project Coach as a “safe place” for the players to go after school that provides an outlet for all their energy, a place to “better themselves”. One of the challenges he faces with the players is getting them to listen; however “it gets easier each time”.
On Mondays all the coaches meet in the library at Chestnut Middle School with the Project Coach coordinators and director. The coaches learn new strategies and games that will be used later on in the week with the elementary school players. When asked about future plans, Travis explained how he wants to go to college after high school to study Psychology.

ANTONIO, an eleventh grader, also heard of Project Coach from two other coaches who had already been in the program for a couple of years.He thinks of Project Coach as a valuable training that will enable him to work with kids
in the future. Antonio also agreed that one of the main challenges he faces as a coach is getting his players to listen. Project Coach keeps the kids active, giving them something to do rather that being “stuck at home”. He wants to study forensics after high school. Before going back to his players he described Project Coach as a “good program”.

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