One of my favorite things about Up2Us Sports is that everybody is accessible. My VISTA leader encouraged us to reach out to people for informational interviews. Chatting with our Founder & CEO Paul Caccamo and our Chief Marketing Officer Mario Argote, I wanted to know how they had come to the positions they currently held. I learned that neither of them had taken a straight path. Paul talked about being a school teacher and seeing that young people needed extra opportunities for growth. Mario became a lawyer straight out of undergrad before realizing he didn't like working in the courts. These moments of vulnerability/accessibility were extremely important for a young person trying to figure out where they fit in life.
I first met the Los Angeles team in a tiny, windowless warehouse office in 2015. During college I had fallen in love with research and I wanted to know what it would be like to work at a non-profit which made data-driven decisions. Thus, I took a role as an AmeriCorps VISTA doing monitoring and evaluation at Up2Us Sports. The first lesson I learned was that I would have to wear a lot of hats. While my primary responsibilities were around data collection and analysis, the fact that there were only three of us in the office meant that we had to have all hands on deck. I helped make binders, led training sessions and so much more. Two years and three moves later, I can see the San Gabriel Mountains from my office window. Much like how our office has grown, I have grown as well. At the end of my VISTA service term, I was hired full-time as an Up2Us Coach Program Manager here in Los Angeles. I manage 35 coaches at 15 different host sites. Our coaches do incredible work in the field and I feel grateful that I can support them.