2016: Looking Back on a Year of Up2Us Sports Coaches

Over the 2016 calendar year, we had nearly 500 coaches improving their communities through the Up2Us Sports coaching program.  We asked them to share their favorite memory.


Coach Maria - Touching Miami with Love - Miami, FL

Coach Maria and the rest of the Touching Miami with Love crew participated in a 5k walk to support one of our students who was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis.


Coach Jackie - Chicago Run - Chicago, IL

At the beginning of our season there was a boy who told me, “Miss Jackie, I don't think I can run a long race." I told him we are going to work hard and that he'll do great! On race day we found each other towards the end of the 5K and he told me how excited he was that he'd gotten this far. I said, “do you think you can sprint towards the finish line?” and he smiled and said, “I'll race you!” We raced together and once we were done he hugged me and said, “thank you for pushing me, Miss Jackie!”

Coach Frank - Urban Initiatives - Chicago, IL

Honestly, my favorite moments have been seeing kids from schools that I'm no longer with. At countless game days, retreats, etc. I get so many high fives, hugs, and "COACH FRANK!”'s. That makes me feel like I made a difference in their lives with the year that I spent with them last year.

Coach Noelia - Chicago Run - Chicago, IL

My favorite coaching memory happened this past fall during our fall race with the kids. I was running with one of my 4th students, Destiny, and it was her first 5k race. During the race she did great and kept a nice and steady pace, but the moment she crossed the finish line she began to cry happy tears because she didn't think she could finish the race. Seeing her believe in herself was my favorite moment as a coach this year.

Coach Spencer - South Eugene Rowing Club - Eugene, OR

My favorite moment (or sequence of events rather), was coaching an athlete who had tried and failed multiple times to complete a certain workout. Eventually, with enough time and input, they were able to finish this challenging workout and feel good about it. I enjoyed seeing their boosted self-esteem and progress through the fall.

Coach Zoe - George Pocock Foundation - Seattle, WA

One of my more challenging athletes had an unexpected gold medal win at regionals, exceeding everyone's expectations. At our end of year party, she let her guard down for long enough to share a moment of mutual respect and appreciation with me, and made me feel so good to feel like I had impacted the life of this kid in a positive way, since she had certainly done the same for me.

Coach Jacinto - enFamilia - Homestead, FL

I believe this was a year of growth for me in Up2Us Sports. I believe I developed a deeper understanding of our mentorship tactics, strategies and techniques and was able to apply them more naturally and more effectively. I believe that my youth and I hold a stronger bond than in the beginning of the year and that I have a stronger influence in their lives. I'm personally thankful for the experiences that the Up2Us Sports staff leaders have granted me, including my horrendously executed first pitch at the Marlins game and the opportunity to learn about UM's basketball team culture.

Coach Hel Say - Soccer Without Borders - Oakland, CA

There were a lot of my favorite memories from 2016, but my very favorite memory was when my girls won their first game during the season. Seeing the girls happy is one of the best feelings in this world. They came up to me with a big smile on their faces and said, "we did it coach Hel Say because we were working together and playing together as a team." They said, “we worked so hard and now we won!” I told them, “it's not all about winning, but I'm so proud of you girls - the way you treated each other with love, respect, and caring hearts makes me happy. Plus, you respected the other team and refs and that's what sport is all about.”