Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Loeb and Joseph Speak at the Community Forum on Casinos in Springfield

Casino Proposals in Springfield, MA

                 Last night, two veteran coaches (now college students and leaders in the program), one of our graduate fellows who grew up in Springfield, and I attended the Community Forum for the two casinos (MGM and Penn National) who are attempting to build in Springfield, MA. Listening to the proposals was an informative experience, both of our veterans remarked how much they learned about the projects, what a nice job the companies had done preparing, and how exciting the prospects seemed for the city. I was struck by how few of the 300 audience members appeared under the age of 30. As a former resident and teacher in the city of Springfield, I was worried that the youth of the city had not come out to hear about such an important possibility and change. When it came time for community members to ask questions, I noticed that our two young men appeared to be among an incredibly small number of youth in line to ask these companies about their plans, their commitment to the city, and their ability to help Springfield. Yet, I could not have been more proud to see and hear Loeb and Joseph speak about our program and ask about the potential for these companies to support community building organizations like ours. 
video
 Loeb Rosario and Joseph Wray address the executives from MGM and Penn National 

          As you can see in the video, our young men were incredibly poised and well spoken, especially considering the large crowd, the people they were addressing (CEOs and COOs), and the fact that they were one of the first in line to ask a question. What struck me during and after this was that this event was not just important for our program, the possibility of connecting with these casinos, and our never ending quest for a beautiful facility in the north end; this was incredibly important for the two men who took a chance, had a great experience, and supported a program that meant so much to them. Afterwards, both Loeb and Joseph Wray were interview by NECN and Fox 6. A portion of that aired on both stations last night. Furthermore, the Young Professionals Society invited both young men to their next luncheon. In an email this morning, Loeb wrote, "I just really want to say thank you. Thank you for believing in me and trusting me throughout the past 6 years of my life. I know I could count on you all for anything." He continued on to say, "It seriously means a lot to me that you trust me talking about Project Coach to such important people." This solidified my belief that getting our name out, creating an opportunity to partner with these casinos, and promoting Project Coach, did not live up to the fabulous opportunity we had just given these young men. The chance to speak and be received as well as they were was undeniably powerful. 
video
MGM Gives Answer to Loeb and Joseph's Question

video
MGM Thanks Loeb and Joseph for Coming and Their Courage to Speak 

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Penn National Echoes MGM's Support for Our Youth Leaders and the Program

       As all of the videos show, the two companies were both eager to discuss opportunities to partner with Project Coach and other organizations developing youth in Springfield. MGM's diversity leader commented how interested they were in organizations that have youth involved in mentoring and developing other youth. Loeb and Joseph were excited by the opportunity in their responses and will be visiting the offices of both companies this week. We are all excited and encouraged and would love to create a partnership with either organization. Stay tuned for more updates on this opportunity! 

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