Thursday, July 18, 2013

Holyoke Summer of Power and Project Coach

This past week marked the commencement of Project Coach's involvement with the ELL Summer of Power five week workshop helping to develop teens from Holyoke, MA. All types of resources, organizations and amazing personnel have come together to provide an amazing structure for these young adults to achieve and grow. Our goal as a program is to be a positive influence on the lives of twenty of these actively engaged individuals over the five week period. We have hopes that the platform we provide, and the guidance and hands on mentoring that comes with it, will allow the teens to take the skills they learn and apply them directly to their lives going forward. This is an inside look at the beginning of their exposure to our program and their incredible, immediate, positive response to experiencing it first hand. 

We were only a few moments into our second of five fifteen-minute pitches to the rotating groups of the local high school students from the Holyoke area when a student chimed in with words of inspiration. "This is a great way to positively affect a community," he stated (referring to the mentoring interaction between teen coach and elementary student). We all had to take a step back. Here we were wondering if our presentation was getting through to the students at all, unsure that they would even understand what signing up for our workshop truly meant, and this student nailed it right on the head. At this moment, we realized we were dealing with quite an exceptional group of young people. 

The three days that have followed only seem to support this theory. Our first Gym training involved over thirty active, engaged kids and teens learning and playing games that help there communication, confidence, and expression of emotions develop exponentially. The laughter, joy, and flow of sweat throughout the gymnasium of the Holyoke Boys and Girls Club was contagious and was extremely fun to be involved with. To end our week we have had a classroom/gym training session at the high school and another successful experience at the Boys and Girls Club where the coaches had a chance to put their newly acquired skills to the test amongst their peers and an energetic group of elementary students from their community.

Each week members of Project Coach will team up with this willing and motivated group of teens from the Holyoke community to develop as students, coaches, and professionals. The response of these young adults is truly inspiring and we cannot wait to see what the next four weeks has in store for us. Even in this short period a time we can expect to see great things out of these first time coaches, and we hope that the PC model can help them achieve greatness going forward! 

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