Veteran coaches, potential new coaches and family members gathered in Chestnut Middle School Library on Monday afternoon to mark Project Coach’s eighth year running. NEON (North End Outreach Program) began the session with a presentation of an array of programs they are offering North End residents this year.
Sam Intrator then gave an overview of the program, indicating what its goals were for this upcoming year as well as its new features. As a college professor he wants students who think critically, communicate their ideas effectively to others and strive to positively impact others’ lives. Project Coach creates an environment in which the Blue Shirts can develop these skills. The Project Coach directors and graduate students each introduced themselves and two veteran coaches briefly spoke of their positive experiences in the program. While students who work as coaches get paid eight dollars an hour, this year, high school credit will also be offered to those coaches who participate in the program. Three Academic Coaches each representing one of the high schools in the area will support the coaches with their academics. Some of the new features of this year’s program include participation in a league where Project Coach teams will compete. Long-term activities pairing the coaches to Smith College students to develop different media projects, including a radio program, are in the works. In addition, students from France will be visiting for two weeks this year. Project Coach Blue Shirts will visit France next year.
One aspect that Project Coach seeks to improve this year is its communication with the Blue Shirts’ parents. Some parents who were present voiced concerns over the lack of contact information they received. After the presentation of the program, students who wanted to become Project Coach Blue Shirts were interviewed. The programs veteran coaches were also present to answer questions. One coach recommended to “always be energetic and make sure to always keep the players moving”; “they love it when coaches become part of the game”.