By Coach Gerry ZatarainHollenbeck Police Activity League -
I hear a voice scream, “Coach Gerry!” I turn around and see a hand waiting for a high five.
I have to say that is the best feeling ever!
I am Coach Gerry out of the Boyle Heights Hollenbeck Police Activity League (PAL). Soccer has been in my life since I can remember, watching games at home with family, playing in the park and participating in soccer leagues all across Los Angeles.
I am truly blessed to be doing what I love to do and to have opportunities to give back to the community in such a positive, vibrant, and creative way. Up2Us Sports’ training helped me become a better coach and mentor—allowing me to witness my players discover how much they can grow as an athlete and a person.
Last Saturday, October 24, I attended a Service Day with the Up2Us Sports Los Angeles team at Heninger Elementary in Santa Ana. First, I want to say that I think it’s awesome that Up2Us Sports does helpful things like this for the community. My experience was amazing! From the beginning to the end, I felt there was love, happiness and companionship. It was obvious that everybody’s purpose that day was to help.
We started the day with a great orientation, which set the tone for the rest of the day. Being able to work next to good people and people that love what they are doing, made it feel comfortable. I could just feel the good vibes in the air. With everyone productive and committed we finished faster than we thought, which gave us time to talk and get to know each other a little better.
We were happy to be able to work on both the inside and outside of the school. While working outside, some of us were surprised at the type of plants that were chosen to be potted; they were water friendly plants. These gave the yard a welcoming feel and a meaningful message: don’t waste so much water. Inside, the colors chosen for the classroom were a combination of blues and grays. After it was finished, the room was left with a sense of calmness, comfort, and a sense of welcoming.
The end of this event was very significant to me because it gave me the opportunity to learn valuable leadership skills from some great people. I also got the chance to catch up with some coaches that I haven’t seen since our Chicago training [National Coach Training Institute]. The best thing about the day was the look in the Principal’s eyes when she saw the completed project. She was truly appreciative and excited to have this room ready for her teachers to enjoy on Monday morning.
I am glad I was part of this Service Day, and can’t wait for the next one. It feels good to work together and give a helping hand to the community as a team. It’s one step closer to making this world a better place.