I’ve always had a strong connection to Philadelphia but, working as an AmeriCorps service member through Up2Us Sports at Youth Mentoring Partnership, I have had to chance to work with the kids that really make up the population. Being on the front line of service has opened my eyes to what kids really need. The kids we serve need consistency and positive adult role models in their lives. I get to change lives by teaching the skill of goal setting, giving real-life examples of grit and how to practice an attitude of gratitude.
Up2Us Sports has shown me that I am capable of being that consistent positive adult. It has changed my approach on building and maintaining relationships in all aspects of my life. As for changing the lives of the kids I work with, well, I won’t know about that for another five years. My first mentee has since followed their dreams performing spoken word and is currently pursuing a teaching career. Seeing the impact I had and seeing my student use goal-setting as a tool for their success was one of the most rewarding moments in my time withUp2Us Sports.
The process for impacting and changing communities takes time, but if you can make little deliberate changes students will take that with them throughout the day. I greet students by name and give them a handshake when they walk in our workout space and I always make sure they get a handshake on the way out. A simple recognition of existence goes a long way and that’s how I’m being the greater good.