SF State students are working once again with the non-profit Coaching Corps to help kids in disadvantaged communities play the sports they have always wanted to play.
Coaching Corps’s mission is “to ensure that all kids get to reap the benefits of playing sports with a trained, caring coach,” according to their website.
Coaching Corps’ volunteers go into neighborhoods across the nation to hold after-school sport programs as well as provide the proper equipment and training kids need to play. Students at SF State, being one of the first schools Coaching Corps has worked with, have lent a hand in going to communities in San Francisco and continue to do so today.
SF State student Tony Song held basketball practices for middle school boys and girls. His recommendation for other students to join Coaching Corps stems from taking a step back and looking at others for a moment.
“I wanted to bring the same opportunities I took for granted as a kid to children in areas that are not as fortunate,” said Song. “It’s all about giving back.”
Being a previous volunteer with Coaching Corps, Song said he knows that when a local from SF State takes the time to teach them about sports, it means these kids have a chance of living a life they never thought possible.
Those who volunteer don’t need to have a passion in sports, according to Lyle Greene, the coach development manager of Coaching Corps. Anyone who cares about the wellbeing of others are encouraged to join.
“There are a lot kids that need a positive role model or mentor in their lives,” said Greene. “We feel that SF State has been a great start.”
As a volunteer who no longer plays sports, SF State student Michelle Lomeli still sees value in the opportunity to join Coaching Corps.
“Unfortunately, I don’t play any sports at the moment, but I definitely want to be able to teach kids that there is more to it than just playing a game,” said Lomeli. “It’s a great way to improve the health and well being of these children and to keep them out of trouble.”
“In San Francisco alone, there aren’t as many opportunities to play for the kids living in the more under-resourced areas. The surrounding need around SF State is high and the leadership there has been strong,” said Lynne Lee, executive vice president of Coaching Corps. “We find these leaders in the student body.”
With schools all over the nation, as well as community members and national and local civic organizations who are stepping in to answer this call to action, Lee hopes that Coaching Corps meets their goal.
In 2015, Coaching Corps had 2,179 coaching spots filled and 102 after-school partners, serving 23,969 kids, according to Michael Rohn, marketing and communications manager of Coaching Corps.
“We want to reach 65,000 kids annually and right now we’re reaching about half of that,” Lee said. “Our goal is 2021.”
Rohn goes on with Coaching Corp’s statistics by saying that in 2016, the organization had over 2,500 coaching positions filled at over 100 afterschool programs, and reached 27,000 kids.
To become a coach, volunteers must sign up online.
“This would help hit our mark of 65,000 children in the United States,” Lee said.
Aside from the numbers, Coaching Corps’ impact page gives the heart of the matter: To see their mission statement become a reality for every boy and girl. As a student volunteer, Song hopes others can see that, too.
“Live a life that is not all about you and give back to the community, especially to the kids,” Song said.